Week 6

This week had a similar structure as the previous ones except that there was no exercise session for Tuesday. On Monday we begun with a quiz like before and this time there was only one chapter for studying. Sometimes the preparation for quizzes has been quite tough because the work must be done on weekends with numerous pages to be read. This time the workload was okay and we think we managed to study the chapters quite well. Also we think this might have been the first time none of the questions in the quiz were from review questions from the end of the book chapter although the questions there required quite long answers.

Chapter 15 dealt with chemical control of the brain and behavior. On the lecture we took a look at different neurotransmitter related pathways. It is useful to categorize different brain areas by the neurotransmitter used. For example we concentrated in the differences of acetylcholinergic and dopamine pathways. Also we returned to similar topics with the exercise two as we studied, which neurotransmitters are active in specific brain structures. In our opinion this recap came in a good spot as we’ve forgotten many of the studied brain areas and structures. For example we learned that Substantia nigra, striatum and nucleus accumbens are related to dopamine pathways. Also we learned that the first stages of Alzheimer’s occur because of the death of acetylcholine producing cells in the acetylcholinergic pathways a bit similarly as Parkinson’s disease is due to loss of dopamine producing cells in the Substantia nigra structure. Much of the topics we studied for the quiz were new information but there was something familiar too like the relation between pituitary and hypothalamus.

On the lecture we abruptly examined the differences between catecholaminergic substances. We already knew that dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline have similar origins but it came as a little surprise that their chemical structures are that similar. We are looking forward to the excursions, which might well be the most useful take from this course after all as we should probably begin planning for the future after university.

  • Pekko & Maria

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