Week 2: How does a message travel through neutron? Why is this possible?

The second week started with a lecture and a quiz about the topics of this and previous week. Exercises started with a teaching session, and they will be returned after next week. 

On the lecture

The lecture was videoed, which makes it easy to revise the topics later, or learn about the topics if you were not able to attend. The lecture was mainly about neuron membrane, and action potential. The physics of the neuronal membrane, how it functions in rest and what will happen when a message is travelling through a neutron. Why is it possible that a message from the end of a dendrite will travel quickly to the end of the axon?

The exercises

In this weeks exercises, the search for the answers needed some deeper thinking of the subject and also gave us a good recap of what we had already read from the book. The exercise session was a good opportunity to ask help especially with the last task, which was slightly more challenging. We enjoyed that the exercises were really different: they included drawing, writing and calculating which gave a really versatile learning experience. Looking forward to building the brain next week!

At home

Practicing for the quiz was one motivation to study the topics of the lecture already at home. This will make following the topics of lecture easier and give good base for exercises. Studying for a quiz instead of an exam may emphasizes the importance of the terms and more precise questions, but it also makes learning the terms easier. This most likely makes studying and revising these topics later easier. It also made us actually think about the review questions instead of just reading through them.

What did we learn?

The action potential and neuronal membrane are subjects which have been taught earlier on other courses, but now they were gone through in slightly greater detail. The book had many good examples of different situations, one of the most interesting being the fact about the puffer fish, which toxin could selectively block the sodium channels and therefore be fatal if the fish is being eaten. It’s interesting to understand even the smallest details of these kind of examples and then learn the exact reasons why something like this happens. 

Understanding how the action potential happens and how neuronal membrane behaves, really helps to understand reasons behind the similar situations and to prevent them in the future. Action potential is absolutely one of the most important processes in the human body, since it really does affect everything.

Posted by Ona Westerlund

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