Diving deeper into the course

Welcome to the second week of the studies of our group! During this week we had our first lecture quiz and we began to work on our first assignments. The lecture of the week was about neuronal membrane at rest and action potential. In our group meeting we also took a look at our coursebook’s chapter five: synaptic transmission.

The lecture quiz, which had both multiple choice and open ended questions, took place right after the lecture itself. Although it did not have many questions, we all got tricked by the layout of the open ended questions. The result was, that all of us froze more or less, and we all got some answers wrong, even though some of the correct answers would have been quite obvious. In our opinion, the quiz questions shouldn’t include ones that can be interpreted in multiple ways. However, the multiple choice questions were a good clear way to recap the lecture, and we wish the would have been more of those. The quiz could also be improved by extending the response time. If students had more time to respond, they might also be able to actually recap the contents of the lecture instead of hastily answering something and then closing the laptop with a heartbeat of 100 bpm.

In our meeting we chatted quite a while about how we like the style of this course’s lectures. We are happy about the fact that there are more than one person of the course’s staff live on the lecture answering questions and also asking about topics we students haven’t even thought about. These lectures aren’t all about reading the slides out loud, but actually teaching the topics.

Our group was fairly familiar with the subjects of the week and we were mostly able to explain unclear matters one to another. However, some questions remained unexplained. When do vesicles containing neurotransmitters travel to the axon terminal? Do they hang around in there until an impulse occurs? How does an electric nerve impulse transfer to a chemical message in the synapse? How is it chosen which neurotransmitter is burst into the synaptic cleft? We also wondered, what was the thing controlling the concentration of a cell and how is the concentration of the vesicles monitored since they are separated from the cell’s matrix by a phospholipid bilayer.

Thank you for reading our thoughts!

Posted by Sara S.

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Introduction to neuroscience

Welcome to our first post of the blog series on the journey of learning about human brain. This blog is written by three students as a part of a course called ‘Structure and operation of the human brain’. In our group of three students we have varying prerequisite knowledge on the topics, but share the same motivation for learning more from each other.

The first week of the course included introduction to the neuroscience in general, and some topics about neurons and glia. As this weeks writer, I didn’t have much prerequisite knowledge about the previously mentioned topics. These topics, however, are introduced clearly in a book called ‘Neuroscience: Exploring the brain’ by Bear, Connors & Paradiso. This course most likely requires a lot of anatomy studies at least on my part, but the book has seemed to be easy to read and to grasp concepts.

The most interesting thing to me was how ions are passed through the neuronal membrane and the selectivity filter. Its fascinating to think how minuscule the reactions are but how important role they nonetheless play in the well being of a human. For example, in the book it was noted that some forms of epilepsy are explained by mutations of specific potassium channels. Fine detailed example like this shows how complex and delicate system brain really is, and I’m more than curious to see what new things we discover next week!

Posted by Teemu Sormunen

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