The topic of this week was chemical control of the brain and behavior. There was only a lecture this week and it focused specifically on the function of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in the human brain. The lecture was very good and it was nice that the unanswered questions from the last lecture were answered in the beginning of this lecture. The short videos about the topics were very good.
It was interesting to learn about the functions of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in more detail because they are often talked about in everyday life. The diffuse brain systems related to them as a concept was still new. It was also interesting to learn about how these chemicals regulate very mundane processes like thirst. The lecturer mentioned that long-term stress degenerates the hippocampus. We were left wondering if and how the hippocampus can be regenerated and how much of the hippocampus can be degenerated. The function and operation of hypothalamus was already familiar for us from physiology, including the homeostasis and the co-operation with the kidney. It was interesting to also learn about how the same chemicals and their regulation cause Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s, especially because these are such common diseases and we know people who have them, which allows us to really reflect on them and put them into context. We are now in the halfway point of the course and there is already quite a lot of memorization and terminology especially with the latin words, but hopefully we have already passed the halfway point in the topic point of view. However, the upcoming topics seem very interesting and we are keen to learn about them.