4. Blog post

It was interesting to read more about the neurotransmitters and their functions in more detail. Previously I’ve been introduced to them only on a basic level. There’s quite many of them to remember and with everything affecting everything so to speak, structuring all of it will take some work.

MEGIN excursion brought a nice change to normal exercises routine, however it would have been even better to actually see a MEG instrument in addition to the lecture. Even though I already had an idea of the technicality of brain imaging it was still little surprising how theoretical application it really is. Also, some of the solutions people have invented to work around certain problems like noise cancellation in signal are quite ingenious. Still it feels like a huge part is highly focused on handling the signal data in way to get more out of it instead of tuning various bits and bobs around.

This made me think how much actually needs to be corrected in the signal for example if the person has a dental implant because the metals used in those are usually titanium alloys or other such non-ferromagnetic metals.

Also, what can be done for imaging techniques in the future with the likelihood of increasing amounts of various implants in humans due to medical reasons; pacemakers, pain relieving stimulators or even some procreational ones.

Posted by Juha Laitinen

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3. Blog post

From the point of view of a student, the world of neurotransmitters and receptors is full of wonders and big questions. How many types or subtypes of reseptors we haven’t found yet? Could a solution to some of the problematic brain diseases lie in some undiscovered receptor? Could we still find new pain relieving or sedating molecules based on GABA agonism?

If from approximately 100 of known neurotransmitters ten do most of the work, how many effects or possibilities are hidden in the lesser known ones? What would happen if we altered these rarer neurotransmitters and how would they work after it or would they function at all. How many possible receptor agonists or antagonist are still unfound somewhere in nature?

With my background in pharmacy I cannot help thinking, about all the possible opportunities for neurodisease treatment we could still find in neuroreseptors.

When studying neuronal impulses and how they travel via electric impulses and chemical neurotransmitters, I rarely stop to think how fast they actually travel. Sure I have calculated the speed as an exercise, but it is hard to truly understand the sheer speed of impulses untill you do a reaction time test.

Imagine it, you see a shape or hear a sound and it takes only around 200-300 ms to react, not to mention the speed at which you react to pain. Feels like you react faster than you even feel the pain. At that short time, impulses have travelled a long distance and chemical neurotransmitters have . The idea is overwhelming.

Posted by Emilia

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2. Blog post

It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that amino acids can also be neurotransmitters. For so many years amino acids have only ever been discussed in the context of protein synthesis, so thinking about their other functions is bizarre. It also makes me wonder, why are so few amino acids neurotransmitters, and why those specific ones? Or is there more the book did not mention?

The same confusion applies to hormones that are also neurotransmitters. When are they hormones and when are they neurotransmitters? Are they still synthesised in the same place? The book discusses the example of noradrenaline. Before this, I did not know that nuclei in the brain also synthesised noradrenaline, I thought only adrenal glands were responsible for their synthesis.

Having or making a long list of common neurotransmitters, their place of synthesis and alternative functions would be useful. The classification by the book also seemed very broad. Though I am not sure how I would prefer to classify neurotransmitters.

When working on the brain structure homework, I started wondering how specifically should we know the structures in the brain? The structures always remain in the same place, but when looking at them from a different perspective, it can be challenging to identify certain areas. The parts can look so different from a different angle. And when looking at a real brain, the tissue all looks similar, no purple or blue areas to identify a specific structure.

Posted by Natalia

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1. Blog post

The lectures work well to get the basic idea of the subject matter and the ability to ask question at any time (even between lectures) is really good idea, especially when subjects get more complex. However, personally I learn better by reading the book and the making my own notes about everything. Although this might chance once subjects get to the more complex parts of the course. Some parts in the beginning of the course were quite familiar from cell biology courses and similar ones. However, with nerve cells being the main focus of neurosciences some interesting details were already discussed. it was interesting to take a look in bit more detail of the function of neurons, so it was still relevant even if the subject matter was previously familiar to me. Also studying the anatomy of the brain is something that is new for me, which areas are responsible of various functions so that should be interesting to take a look at.

Because of my background in biology and chemistry, I feel like I have a good foundation on the cellular side of the subject and I should focus on revising the physics aspect related to e.g. action potential and similar. I could see myself being slighty rusty with the assignments with the Nernst equation exercise taking more time it should have after having a break from doing similar tasks over the summer.

Posted by Juha Laitinen

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