Learning diary update 26-9-2021

This week we learned about the structure of the neuron, the neurons membrane and axons, the glial cells that support the neurons and their axons and the propogation of the action potential.

Altough we both had prior experience in the topics discussed, it was to go back to the theory and get a more in depth look.

One thing that what was not clear before this lecture, was the propagation of the action potential. I have now however learned that the propagation goes through multiple stages; polarisation, depolarisation and repolarisation.

One thing that I did not know before was the reason for the existence of the Nodes of Ranvier. They seemed almost inhibitory, stopping the full insulation of the axon. However, I now know that they contain voltage gated Na+ channels that help with the spread of the axon potential!

One question we have is how the action potential remains so powerful over such a long distance. There is always a leak in the channels, so how can it be that it can travel long distances without losing much power? Do the channels play a crucial role in this, or is it something else?

The point of all that we have learned can be found in the name of the course, “structure and operation of the human brain. The human brain operates exclusively using these neurons, and finding out how they work is a key part to understanding the brain.