The lecture topic of this week was neurotransmitters and the exercise session was on chemical senses and the visual system. Having one chapter as pre-reading for the lecture was a good amount of reading and allowed the lecturer to cover the important topics in more detail and more clearly, as well as answer some open questions. It was nice after last week to be really able to read the whole chapter and take notes and be well prepared for the lecture. The quiz was also good and we felt that we understood the main parts of the topic because we were able to answer the quiz properly, even though we misunderstood some of the questions and accidentally answered wrong. Overall, based on the lecture and the quiz we felt that we are back on track again somehow and maybe we are not doomed with this course.
The neurotransmitter systems seemed very interesting, and it was interesting to learn that the receptor binding is in some cases very specific but on the other hand not always. For example different ACh receptors, such as the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, both bind ACh but they only bind nicotine or muscarine. It was also fascinating that the same neurotransmitter might have a different effect on different parts of the body, for example ACh in cardiac muscle and in skeletal muscles.
Like mentioned, the exercise was from last week’s topic. It was very good to have an exercise on the visual system especially, because it was not thoroughly understood last week. The exercise was in a way quite different from exercises we are used to from other courses, because the questions were very applied and you really could not answer them properly just based on the book, even if you would have understood the topic very well. The questions had many terms that were not introduced in the book or during the lecture, and it was basically the point to search the answers from google. It was not bad but just different. On the other hand, it was interesting to also learn some extra information compared to the book through the exercise questions. Especially the question about differences in the cephalopod and vertebrate eye was very interesting and educating, and helped to understand the function of the human eye also better.