ACE Class Report – Neuroscience 2.
Title: Neuroscience 2
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 the quirks of the brains and how things like environment can affect it. Tis is an interesting topic and is something new for me to learn.
What I learned form this class:
The many forms of memory: Memory as being declarative or nondeclarative. Declarative memory is the ability to recite facts and events such as London is the capital of England. Nondeclarative memory includes recalling how to do a certain skill, such as playing a cello. Region for this kind of memory include the Cerebellum. Declarative memory relies on the Medial Temporal Lobe. The memory systems includes the Hippocampus and structures that surround the Hippocampus in the Medial Temporal Cortex which is involved in memory storage. Hippocampus plays a central role in learning and memory. memories can get recalled and rewritten as events that really happened. This rewriting process to form false memory is called repressed memory.
Quirks of Memory: Three regions of the brain are involved in learning – that is, acquiring memory are the Hippocampus, the Amygdala and the Neocortex. The Hippocampus deals with spatial navigation, or learning how to get around a complex environment. This structure requires repetition to assimilate information. The Amygdala, recruited to process intense emotions, it takes only one single trial to learn fear conditioning. The largest region, the Neocortex, occupies 3/4 of the brains and generalizes factual information, storing it in a distributive way. Despite having multiple memory systems, the brains can deceive us with fading memories, drift in memory and simply inaccurate recollections.
Learning, studying and sleep: Modern idea on learning is synaptic plasticity, the idea that neuronal change may underlie learning. changes could occur at the synapses, the major place where learning occurs. The following possibilities occur on the same time scale as short term memory: 1) Increase in receptors, 2) Presynaptic terminal more likely to release a transmitter, 3) Possible change in connection strength, and 4) formation of new synapses.
Short and Long term memory are different. Long term memory separate facts from their context and stores them in a more general way. The transfer of short term to long term out of the Medial Temporal Lobe system into the Neocortex is called consolidation, an aspect of learning. Consolidation requires time between learning sessions. That’s why two 4 hour study sessions are more productive than one 8 hour session. Consolidation also requires sleep. A lack of sleep disrupts consolidation of memory.
Willpower and Mental work: Willpower can be exercised, like muscle and you can wear it out. Willpower seems to be stronger with use. Long-term exercise of willpower increase the size of the willpower pool. Deferral of reward is an executive function, involving the Prefrontal Cortex. Other restructures involved in self restraint are the Frontal Cortex and the Cingulated Cortex. Willpower training can include playing a new instrument or sports, military training, new language or instrument. How does you brain increase willpower? Neural activity in the form of exercising your self control may drive rearrangement of circuitry in the Neocortex. This plasticity is a possible explanation for what may buildup of willpower.
Work, Play and Study: Stress release epinephrine (Adrenaline) through the Autonomous nervous system. Our senses are sharpened, our pulse and breath quickens, our brain shuts down nonessential systems and can even dull our sense of pain. Even anticipating or witnessing a stressful situation can elevate stress hormone. Persistent stress can cause long term damage to the body and to the brain. Play is a way to fight the ill effect of stress. We secrete epinephrine when we play, but paly does not lead to chronic damage, without creating long term burden on the brains, thus play is a healthy counterpart to work.
Childhood and Adolescence: Myelination is not complete until people reach their early 20’s. Physical basis for change in self control and ability to pay attention. The capacities changes as we go through adolescence to adulthood.
Aging: Aging brings shrinkage in brain volume and changes in synaptic strength, dendrite branching and synapses. Loss in branching is responsible for decline in function, such as memory. Our memory capacity peaks at 30’s the begin to decline. We continue to make Neurons as we age. Stress and depression hasten the death of Neurons. Changes can afflict us with Dementia, Alzheimer Disease, Stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
Brain exercise and real exercise: Exercise both mental and physical helps us retain cognitive functions as we age. Brain health benefits if you have hobbies, like playing bridge, mahjong, travel, learn a new language or new instrument or sports. Aerobic exercise is especially protective of the brain functions. Exercise ease depression, improve executive functions ( memory and planning), reduce dementia. Other things that are good for for the heart and brain are: drinking red wine, eating a good diet with food rich in antioxidants.
How will this class contribute to my success upon my release:
The knowledge gain form this class will be shared with my family, friends and in the communities that I plan to volunteer my services. All knowledge pertaining to health and aging are great discussion topics.