Choon Yong-ACE Class Report-Neuroscience 1

Author of Book: Instructor: Professor Sam Wang
Date Read: September 20, 2023

Book Report

ACE Class Report – Neuroscience 1.
Begin: 8/5/2023
Finish: 9/20/2023
Title: Neuroscience 1.
Instructor: Professor Sam Wang

Why I chose to take this class:
This class teaches us how the brain function in our everyday life. It teaches us how are brain works, perception, pain and addiction. These are interesting topics which I enjoy learning.

What I learned from this class:
Neuroscience is often taught in term of diseases but this is not the only way to look at brain function. Neuroscience did not exist 100 years ago. In the last few decades, neuroscience has become a thriving discipline and had begun to provide mechanistic, biologically oriented explanations for every aspect of behavior – economic behavior, social behavior and psychiatric disorders.

How do neuroscientists study the brain?: To test an idea, they use a three part process to design an experiment. First which brain region too test, next they form a hypothesis suggested by existing evidence, finally they consider technology issue.

Neurons and Synapses: Neurons use an output structure called an axon to send signals and use input structures called dendrites to receive information transmitted across the synapse. Neurotransmitter – gated ion channel -ion channels that are opened by neurotransmitters are how neurons communicate with one another.

Neurotransmitters and drugs: A neuron secretes chemical called neurotransmitters that cross tiny gaps called synapses, to act on receptors. Receptors are protein molecule that sit in the membrane of the cell. They bind to neurotransmitters, causing a shape change in the receptor. The change is how all communication is carried out in the brain.

Juicing the brain: There are drugs that we take in daily life that lead to dependency because they cause plastic events of the brain. These lead us to require those substance daily i.e… caffeine. caffeine blocks receptors for Adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a brake and is believe to help promote sleep. Another kind of receptor that acts like a brake is the Cannabinoid receptor, activated by chemicals made in the brains called endocannabinoids. The Delta -9-THC (Marijuana) puts a foot on the brake and suppress the release of a neurotransmitter. Some drugs affect Dopamine signaling. Dopamine, serotonin and adrenalin and histamine are neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, learning, movements and physiological response. Dopamine is involved in decision making, reward, personality and regulation of movements. When Dopamine neurons die, one result is Parkinson’s disease, another is Schizophrenia.

Coming to Your senses: The job of receptor cells are cells in the periphery of our nervous system, our skin, eyes, and ears are converting events in the world to spikes. Spikes are the universal currency of brain information. The brain lacks receptors, instead is relying on million of axonal wires that come into the brain from the world to provide sensation and other senses. The most complex sense is vision.

Perception and Your Brain’s little lies: Perception depends on attention and expectations, for instance, what are you expecting to get. Perception also depends on a lifetime of prior experience. The perception of the body’s sensation comes from the interaction of two processes: 1) Signals coming from receptors in your body and activity in brain pathways that control your response to these signals and 2) The gating of the information, including whether the information get passed along at all, for example, we cannot tickle ourselves.

Pain it is all in your head: Pain is a perception that’s generated entirely within the brain. It is very real and it is something that helps us survive. But it is something that is generated within the brain, Signal travel up the spinal cord to the Thalamus and to other brain regions for perception and pain include Somatosensory Cortex, the Insula and the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. These regions are activated by different kinds of pain. Our brain naturally secrete opiates, called Opioids or Endorphins for pain relief.

Decisions: Your Brain’s Secret Ballot: Decisions involves two categories: Cognitive, the integration and careful weighing of evidence, and affective (emotional), the determination of whether and outcome will be good or bad. This concept of value is determined by the brain’s emotional systems. Two types decision makers: Maximizers, demands the best outcome and spends a lot of time worrying about differences. Satisficers, look until they find something good enough, then stop. They are decisive and don’t look back. Satisficer are happier than maximizers.

Reward, Adaptation and Addiction: The neurotransmitter Dopamine is essential in conveying reward. Reward neurons, which triggers Dopamine, are found in many parts of the brain – the Orbitofrontal Cortex, Stratum and Amygdala. Drugs such as Heroin, morphine, nicotine, cocaine and amphetamine block the normal uptake, or disposal of Dopamine after the neuron have used it. These lingering neurotransmitters force the brain to adapt to a higher average level of Dopamine. The brain produce fewer Dopamine receptors in response to this increase level, an adaptation makes normal pleasure seems less satisfying. Thus a demand for more drugs – that leads to addiction.

How will this class contribute to my success upon release:
The knowledge gained from this class will be used when I volunteer my services to teach and mentor the communities.