Period 2 week 1

On the lecture of this week, neurotransmitter systems and their effects were presented through the macro-scale till the effects they have on our every day lives. I was unfortunately not present at the lecture, so a few questions arose which I’ll hopefully be able to ask later: Tumors in the pituitary are significantly more common and are not always noticed. Depending on the location of the tumor, ones hormone levels may shift significantly. Nobody hopes to have a tumor, but may the tumor have positive side effects for patients having problems with, for example, gaining weight through the tumor possibly amplifying growth hormone levels?

The BABA-excursion was also very interesting. Especially what stuck to my mind was the application of physical therapy in terms of adapting the system (our brain) to certain tasks. I am most interested in this topic (mainly metrics of adaptation correlation on learning/adaptation, for example, hormone levels and “brain signal power”).

Knowledge in neuromodulators and neurotransmitters at the system level provides powerful tools to assess some of the more philosophical aspects of neuroscience. The baseline understanding that this week provided will be of great use when we cover mental illnesses during the course. I would have loved to get the viewpoint of the lecturers to a thought I have come across when reading about the neuromodulator systems. As we discussed, epinephrine and dopamine lie on the same metabolic pathway in the human body (metabolic products of ldopa) and that baseline dopamine affects motivation (and plays a role in the feeling of reward). Ice baths and cold showers have been popularized during the last years and it is said that they work by causing an adrenaline rush in the body (and brain). Due to the release of adrenaline (epinephrine), more dopamine has to be produced in order to replace the released adrenaline. Do you think this is a viable strategy to raise the baseline level of dopamine?