This weeks lecture examined information transfer in the brain, i.e. the principles of neurotransmission in synapses and the conduction of action potential in the axon. Action potential in a presynaptic neuron results in the release of a neurotransmitters at the axon terminal. The transmitter molecules bind to the receptors of a postsynaptic neuron. The binding of a neurotransmitter can excite or inhibit the postsynaptic neuron, i.e. increase or decrease its membrane potential. If the signal is excitatory, the membrane potential is moved closer to the action potential generation threshold. There are multiple different types of neurotransmitters and whether the signal is excitatory or inhibitory depends on the transmitter that is released and the region of brain it is released at.
In the exercise session this week the focus was on the structure of the brain. We were given play dough and our tasks was to reconstruct human brain from it. The aim of the exercise was to give some hands on experience regarding the brain structure. Creating a 3D object gave us a different perspective on the real life structure of the brain than just viewing 2D images from a textbook. It was suprisingly hard to connect different parts of the model to each other. Forming the cortex was the most challenging part with all its sulci and gyri.
– Timo and Joonas