Neurological Processes

Topics: Action potential, Neuron, Nervous system Pages: 5 (1680 words) Published: October 11, 2010
Neurological Processes

Neurological Processes
Every animal has a brain, but humans have a more complex and unique brain in terms of giving individuals the power to think, plan, speak, act, and behave. It is an extremely complex organ that consists of many areas that all work together in unison in order for the body to perform the tasks it is told to perform. The brain is responsible for controlling both voluntary and involuntary actions and coordinates and controls other organs in the body. The brain can do this by the use of postsynaptic potentials, synaptic transmission, and receptors that are responsible for producing and regulating specific behaviors. There are also six primary neurotransmitters that play a large role in how an individual behaves and how their brain functions. The combination of biology and psychology (biological psychology) individuals are presently studying how the brain works and how it affects behavior and in what ways. Biology changes psychology and psychology changes biology when they both come together as one. It has opened many doors and windows into seeing how the brain affects behaviors and has given scientists a clearer understanding of how the brain works. There has been a great deal of technology that has developed over the past decade that has helped treat many behavioral disorders that start within the brain such as depression. Depression is a very serious illness, and with the advances in technology it has helped scientists to become more informed on how to fix or help treat mental and behavioral illnesses. As a result, it gives individuals a better understanding of what it is and how they can help control and even overcome certain illnesses. Postsynaptic potentials can either be depolarizing, also known as excitatory, which is a positive change in a cells resting potential due to stimulation, or they can be hyperpolarizing, also known as inhibitory, which is when the cell becomes more negative (Wickens, 2005). Synapses’ that release a neurotransmitter that brings the membrane potential of a postsynaptic neuron toward the edge for generating action potentials are known to be excitatory whereas inhibitory synapses pushes the membrane potential of the postsynaptic neuron away from generating action potentials (Wiley, 2004). Postsynaptic potentials depend on the type of channel that is coupled to the receptor, and on the concentration of an ion inside and outside of the cell that cell then determines the nature of the postsynaptic potential, making it either excitatory or inhibitory. Postsynaptic potentials play a large role in producing and regulating behaviors and there are many neurotransmitters that can change the resting position of the postsynaptic cell (Wiley, 2004). Synaptic transmission is crucial for carrying out postsynaptic potentials. Synaptic transmission is a process in which information is communicated and can be shown in four steps. The first one being, the neurotransmitter has to be synthesized and put into vesicles so when an action potential meets the nerve ending that cell is ready to pass it to the next neuron (Williams College Neuroscience, 1998). Then when the action potential arrives at the terminal, the neurotransmitter has to be let go from the terminal quickly and effectively into what is called the synaptic cleft. Next, the neurotransmitter must be recognized by specific receptors on the postsynaptic cell so the signal can be passed on (or in some cases blocked) to initiate another action potential. After the neurotransmitter is recognized by the receptor, it has to be inactivated so it does not continue to occupy that receptor site. This makes it so the neurotransmitter does not stimulate the postsynaptic cell constantly and opens the receptor site so they can receive additional neurotransmitters if need be (Williams College Neuroscience, 1998). This process makes it possible to think, act, and behave. Receptors, as mentioned above, make it...
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