The class on monday started with a 5 minute quiz about the 15th chapter. Then we learned about the different diffuse modulatory systems : We started with the Acetylcholinergic pathway, and the implications that a malfunction on it mean. We then went over the Catecholaminergic, Norepinephrine and Dopaminergic pathways. Some malfunctions of these pathways were also discussed. How accurately can we really evaluate these malfunctions? How soon could we expect to see some more advanced interventions in medicine on these pathways?
We then discussed the serotonin pathway and its mediation by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.
To get a full image, we went over each of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland : Oxytocin, related to birth and therefore usually linked with love and compassion; Vasopressin, our thirst regulator; Cortisol, our main stress indicator; etc…
The following matter to be discussed was the Autonomic Nervous System. This was particularly interesting when the contrasts between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems were drawn. (arousing VS calming).
The idea of how complex and interconnected these pathways actually are are highlighted numerous times. Each pathway influences all other making some imbalances very hard to track down.
To make some sort of introduction for the following day we started the subject of how we can see and study the brain through different imaging techniques.
The first one was the PET scan.
Then a super interesting study was mentioned and discussed for a bit. It was about Adult attachment styles in social bonding and how you can evaluate them through the level of attachment avoidance.
On that same day in the afternoon we had an excursion to a company called MEGIN. We arrived and were welcomed into a very nice environment where one of their employees walked us through everything that they do on that company.
MEGIN was originally named Neuromag, it was founded in 1989 and it has been a leader in whole-head magnetoencephalography ever since then. In the office we visited they no longer manufacture their products but instead develop new ones and take care of all the logistics and business for the ones already on the market.
To better make us understand why MEGIN is so innovative and essential to Neuroscience research he gaves a good insight on how the MEG and EEG work, how they can be filtered, improved, adapted to different kinds of patients, etc…
Then we got to see the MEGIN most break-through products, from the Superconducting SQUID sensors in liquid helium in a helmet-like structure that we got to hold in our own hands, to the new TRIUX™ neo . We got an extensive scientific explanation for how all of them worked. Some questions were raised by students about adapting the different machines to children or babies but apparently there is no need to do so. This was quite interesting. Some signal processing with specific filters is apparently sufficient.
This was the first week we had an excursion so it was quite exciting. We are very much looking forward for the next ones J