Week 3 – Lecture 3 and trillions of brain structures

This week begun similarly with the previous one: we had a quiz. The quiz was about chapters four and five from the book and the topics included the action potential as a whole and synaptic transmissions. This time we had only five minutes to finish the quiz and some of the questions had a word limit of ten words which didn’t feel practical at all. This might have resulted in a worse performance than in the first quiz.

There were a lot of old and familiar information but also new. Basic properties of action potential; dividing it into phases of depolarization, repolarization and hyperpolarization and the fact that action potential transforms into a chemical form between neurons in the synaptic clefts was old information but a recap was useful because we had forgotten many details of this chain of events. Furthermore, the difference between agonists and antagonists was a useful recap and this topic as a whole is something to look forward to as the function of many modern day medicines are based on the manipulation of synaptic transmission.

The differences between resting membrane potentials in different cell types was new information for us although afterwards it seems quite obvious. We also found it interesting that the difference in the size of the diameter has such a big effect on the conduction velocity of an action potential. Myelin sheath obviously has a great influence but it was difficult to understand how the thickness of myelin makes a difference. We also learned about different types of synaptic transmission and whether the transmission is excitatory or inhibitory. An interesting example of inhibition was that hangovers are caused by body trying to excite the over inhibition of neurons after drinking alcohol. Learning about shunting inhibition and how to kill an action potential was new as well and quite interesting.  Finally, the production mechanism of different neurotransmitter was new for us. It was fascinating to see that some of the neurotransmitter are actually created in the soma and how this chain of events leads to a complete product.

On Tuesday we had a brain composition session which supported our learning of different brain areas. This week had an exercise where we had to identify trillions of brain areas and structures. We think that the main input from this weeks exercises was that flash cards are going to be useful in our learning process of brain anatomy.

  • Pekko and Maria

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