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Basics of Neuroscience


... decision making & conflict resolution Brain take time to sort out what senses are sending it The Evolving Brain Inside brain are three levels of development ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Basics of Neuroscience

Basics of Neuroscience
  • James J. Messina, Ph.D.

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Structures of the Brain
  • Facts about human brain
  • weighs about 3 pounds or about 2 of the bodys
  • Contains 1.1 trillion cells, including 100
    billion neurons
  • Neurons on the average have 5000 connections
    called synapse from other neurons (Linden, 2007)
  • Brain uses 20-25 of the bodys oxygen and
    glucose even though it is only 2 of the bodys
    weight (Lammert, 2008).
  • Brain is always working and performing its
  • Brain uses the same amount of energy
  • when the body is asleep or when awake it is hard
    at work thinking (Raichle Gusnard, 2002).

The Brain and the Mind
  • The brain interacts with the other systems in the
    body, which interacts with people and the world
    around it
  • The brain is shaped by the mind.
  • In reality the mind is a creation of the brain,
    the body, the natural world and the human culture
    and the mind itself (Thompson and Varela, 2001).
  • So it is a simplification to say that the Brain
    is the primary influence on or the basis of the
    human mind.

The Three Human Brains
  • Aggressive Brain which lies in the primitive
    portion of the brain
  • Emotional Brain which entails the Limbic system
  • Analytical Brain which involves these components
    of the brain
  • The brain reaches its maximum number of synaptic
    connections and its greatest metabolic activity
    around the age of 3 or 4.

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Primary Components of Human Brain (Part 1)
  • The Cerebral Cortex (Described in next slides)
  • Anterior (frontal) Cingulate Cortex (ACC)
    Steadies attention and monitors plans. It helps
    to integrate thinking and feeling (Yamasaki,
    LaBar, and McCarthy, 2002). A cingulate is a
    curved bundle of nerve fibers
  • Insula Senses the internal state of the body,
    including those gut feelings which people
    experience. It helps a person to become empathic.
    It is located inside the temporal lobes on each
    side of the brain
  • Thalamus Major relay station for sensory
    information. It relays sensory information from
    the outside world directly to the amygdala to
    identify the importance of the stimuli

Primary Components of Human Brain (Part 2)
  • Brain Stem Sends neuromodulators such as
    serotonin and dopamine to the rest of the brain
  • Corpus Callosum Nerve bundle which passes
    information between the two brain hemispheres -
    vital for integrated thoughts, feeling and action
  • The Pons (bridge) Connection between the lower
    brain and the mid-brain. It affects physical
    arousal, including blood pressure and responsible
    for heightened physical arousal in anxiety.
    Nuclei within the pons are important in rapid eye
    movement (REM) sleep.
  • Cerebellum - Regulates body movement and
    responsible for body and limb position, relating
    to balance, posture, walking etc. Integrates
    information. It is assumed that the Cerebellum
    plays an important role in dreaming, memory, and
    other functions.

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The Cerebral Cortex
  • The motor cortex mediates motor activity
  • The premotor cortex - plans complex motor
  • Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) Makes meaning of
    sensory input.
  • The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) - Controls working
  • The anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) Connects
    directly limbic system

Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)
  • Makes meaning of sensory input
  • Sets goals, makes plans, directs actions, and
    shapes emotions
  • Processes information, maintains conscious
    attention, and forms behavioral responses
  • Guides and sometimes inhibits the limbic system
  • Conducts executive reasoning and is critical for
    sequencing behavior
  • Handles working memory

Prefrontal Cortexs Components
  • 1. The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)
  • Controls working memory
  • Consolidates long term memory
  • Compares information with other data coming to it
    from other information centers of the brain
  • 2. The anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG)
  • Connects directly to the structures of the limbic
  • Filters and amplifies information from lower
    regions to and from the prefrontal cortex

Limbic System
  • Limbic System
  • central to emotion and motivation and memory
  • includes cortical as well as subcortical
  • consists of the structures that ring the upper
    part of the brainstem
  • Basal Ganglia Involved with rewards,
    stimulation seeking and movement. Ganglia are
    masses of tissues
  • Cingulate gyrus allows shifting of attention,
    cognitive flexibility, adaptability, and helps
    the mind move from idea to idea
  • Hippocampus Forms new memories and idetects
  • Amygdala - Functions as the alarm bell for the
    brain that responds to emotionally charged or
    negative stimuli (Rasia-Filho, Londero
    Archaval, 2000)
  • Hypothalamus - Regulates primal drives such as
    hunger and sex activates the pituitary glands
  • Pituitary gland it makes endorphins and
    triggers hormones.

The Limbic System
The Lobes of the Brain
Areas of Brain Involved in Cognitive Functioning
Cognitive Function Brain Area Involved
Arousal Attention Frontal Cortex Limbic System Brain Stem
Motor Somatosensory Frontal Parietal Cortex Thalamus Striatum Cerebellum
Executive Functions Frontal Cortex
Language Functions Dominant Cerebral Hemisphere Cortex
Visuospatial Functions Nondominant Cerebral Hemisphere Cortex
Intellectual Reasoning Diffusely Represented in Cortex
Learning Memory Cortex Limbic System
Left Hemisphere of Brain
  • Organizes information, understands sequences
    comprehends time in conjunction with activities
    or events, putting events in sequential order
    placing them in time
  • where verbal work making meaning of experience
  • Forms symbols (language and math) for experience
  • Creates explanations for experience
  • Inhibits activity of right hemisphere which deals
    with emotions
  • Moderates emotional information which goes into
    right side of brain
  • Mediates memory, nonverbal, emotional
    responsiveness of right-side brain functions

Right Hemisphere of Brain
  • Responsible for recognizing faces, reading
    emotions, assessing emotional significance of
    event in conjunction with data from senses which
    it interprets
  • Specialized for nonverbal recognition emotional
    memory - vital for quick accurate response to
    world in which human lives
  • Strong role in creativity nonverbal problem
  • Creates novel responses to both practical
    emotional situations
  • Comprehends spatial relationships
  • Alert for creates cadence rhythm in speech,
    movement, music
  • Regulates nervous system hormonal response
    coming in from senses.

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Role of Brain Hemispheres
  • Left side of brain controls right side of body
    right side of brain controls left side of body
  • Previous slide demonstrates left eye's image is
    translated on right side of brain right eye's
    image is translated on left side of brain
  • Image which person perceives comes after a
    process in brain in which left right side
    images are translated or decoded by left right
    side of brain then made sense for observer
  • Any sight, thought, sound, smell, touch, or taste
    a person has is simply a series of biochemical
    electrical impulses which are sent out by senses
    to brain
  • This is physiological process by which all senses
    thinking are impacted

Cause of Faulty Perceptions
  • If human has faulty perceptions it can impact the
    way human thinks, feels and acts
  • As a result of faulty perceptions which come from
    obscuring translation of faulty perception can
    impair problem solving, decision making
    conflict resolution
  • Brain take time to sort out what senses are
    sending it

The Evolving Brain
  • Inside brain are three levels of development of
  • Reptilian - Brain stem is reptilian brain from
    which rest of brain has evolved is simplistic,
    concrete, fast, and motivationally intense
  • Paleomammalian Limbic System
  • Neomammalian - Cortical tissues relatively
    recent, complex, conceptualizing, slow
    motivationally diffuse sit atop subcortical
    brain stem structures

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Summary of Evolution of Brain Structures
Name Where Located Functions Structures of Brain Involved
Reptilian  Archaic Brain Inner portion of brain - Midbrain Responds to Hunger Temperature Control Fight or Flight Fear Response Defending Territory Keeping Safe Caudate Nucleus is involved in physiology of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder behaviors Thalamus, Caudate Nucleus, Putamen Globus Pallidus
Paleomammalian Subconscious Brain  Old Brain Central Brain Handles Mood, Memory Hormone Production Control Anterior Cingulate Mood Impulse Control Hippocampus Memory Amygdala Fear, Fight or Flight Anger Hypothalamus Endocrine System The Limbic System Anterior Cingulate Hippocampus Amygdala Hypothalamus
Neomammalian Conscious Brain  New Brain The Outer Cerebral Cortex of Brain Handles Higher Cognition, abstract thought, usage of tools, formation comprehension of language social behavior Cerebral Cortex Frontal Lobes Parietal Lobes Temporal Lobes Occipital Lobes Corpus Callosum
Evolving Brain Impact
  • Modern cortex of brain has great influence over
    rest of brain
  • Its been shaped by evolutionary pressures to
    develop ever improving abilities to parent, bond,
    communicate, cooperate love (Dimbar Shultz,
  • Cortex is divided into two hemispheres
    connected by corpus callosum
  • In evolution of brain left hemisphere came to
    focus on sequential and linguistic processing
    right hemisphere focused on holistic
    visual-spatial processing
  • Two hemispheres work closely together it is
    often hard to differentiate their different
    functions as brain operates
  • Many neural structures in evolving brain were
    duplicated so that there is one in each
  • Usual way of talking about components of brain is
    to refer to structure as a single entity e.g.

So How Does the Brain Work?
  • Brain Pathway
  • Power line which connects two brain regions
  • Made up of interconnected neurons along which
    signals are transmitted from one brain region to
  • Neurons
  • Brain has over 100 billion neurons
  • Neurons on average have 5000 connections called
    synapse from other neurons (Linden, 2007)
  • Bio-chemical electrical impulses create a cascade
    of effects based on messages sent to various
    organ receptors of body
  • Neurons process information by receiving,
    integrating transmitting information.

Components of Neurons
  • Cell body sends out dendrites
  • Axon when a neuron fires an electrochemical
    wave ripples down from its axon which is fiber
    which extends toward other neurons it is sending
    signals to
  • Dendrites - are spikes from neuron which receive
    neurotransmitters from other neurons
  • Myelin fatty substance that insulates axons
  • Terminal Buton which faces synapse

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Components of Neuron Synapse
  • 1. Terminal Buton
  • End of a neuron which contains neurotransmitters
  • Referred to as presynaptic
  • 2. Receptors
  • On end of receiving neuron referred as
  • Through which neurotransmitters are transmitted

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  • Major chemical inside brain that affect neural
  • These chemicals have different functions.

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  • All neurotransmitters affect functions throughout
  • Brain is made up of billions of brain cells
    called Neurons
  • Neurons transmit information by means of
    electrical conduction within nerve cells and
    between nerve cells
  • Message once carried through body cell (Axon)
    crosses space called Synapse to new receiving
  • Tip of neuron axon-tiny sacs contain
    neurotransmitter chemicals which are
    automatically released by sending nerve cell
  • Neurotransmitter chemicals excite receiving cell
    causing cell to fire to send message through its
    own body-Axon to next receiving cell
  • Once message received neurotransmitter is
    deactivated taken up from synapse and stored in
    sacs so as not to cause repeated firing of
    receiving cell.

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Neurotransmitters (1)
  • Primary Neurotransmitters associated with
    emotional balance, sleep patterns anxiety
  • Glutomate excites receiving neurons
  • GABA -Gamma amino-butryic acid inhibits
    receiving neurons

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Neurotransmitters (2)
  • Neuromodulators
  • Serotonin regulates states of consciousness,
    mood and anxiety, it also regulates sleep
    digestion affects appetite, sleep sexual
    behavior. Most antidepressants aim at increasing
    its effect
  • Dopamine influences emotional behavior
    cognition, regulates motor activity regulates
    endocrine activity. It is also involved in
    rewards attention. It promotes approach
    behaviors for individuals who face stressors
  • Norepinephrine Its function is to alert
    arouse. It regulates alertness, anxiety tension
    is secreted by adrenal glands in response to
    stress or arousal
  • Acetylcholine promotes wakefulness learning

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Neurotransmitters (3)
  • Neuropeptides are built from peptides which is
    a kind of organic molecule
  • Opiods buffer stress, provide soothing reduce
    pain, produce pleasure - these include the
  • Oxytocin promote nurturing behaviors toward
    children bonding in couples. Associated with
    blissful closeness love. Women typically have
    more oxytocin than men.
  • Vasopressin supports pair bonding in men it
    may promote aggressiveness towards sexual rivals

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Other Neurochemicals
  • Cortisol released by adrenal glands during
    stress response. It stimulates amygdala
    inhibits hippocampus
  • Estrogen brains of both men women contain
    estrogen receptors which affects libido, mood

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Name of Neurotransmitter Related to Related to which Diseases Medications that fill in for it
Acetycholine 1. Memory Function 2. Autonomic nervous system regulation 3. Signal transmission from nerves to muscles Alzheimers Nicotine Atropine Curare Botulinum toxin Aricept
Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) 1. Motivation 2. Energy level 3. Socializing 4. appetite 5. basal metabolic rate Autonomic nervous system disorders (hypertension) Depressive Disorders Anxiety Disorders Ephedrine Yohimbine Amphetamines Merida Effexor
Dopamine 1. Motor neuron control 2. Concentration 3. Food seeking or Sexual Desire 4. Socializing Parkinsons Schizophrenia ADHD Addictions L-dopa Amphetamines
Serotonin 1. Mood 2. Food intake regulation (vomiting) 3. Limbic system functioning 4. Pain 5. Sleep Depressive Disorders Anxiety Disorders Appetite Disorders Migraines Prozac Paxil Imitrex
Gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA) (Inhibitory Neurotransmitter) Affects 1. Emotional Balance 2. Sleep Patterns 3. Anxiety Anxiety Disorders Restlessness Sleeplessness Insomnia Benzodiazepines Barbiturates
Glutamate (Excitatory Neurotransmitter) Associated with potentiation of other neurotransmitters Psychoses Epilepsy Lamitrigine (Lamictal)
b-Endorphin Affects perception of pain Addictions Morphine Heroine Codeine
The Nervous System
  • Responsible for sensing reacting to environment
    coordinating bodily functions of its organ
  • Central Nervous System (CNS) includes the brain
    and the spinal cord
  • Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
  • Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

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Peripheral Nervous System
  • Affects heart muscles directs communications
    between skin brain
  • Skin is vital for receiving data about external
    environment safety of body
  • Changes in pressure, temperature other
    environmental factors cause both conscious
    automatic adjustments to environment.
  • Norepinephrine activates PNS which then activates
    heart, muscles extremities
  • As norepinephrine increases so does heart rate
    blood pressure anxious symptoms such as
    sweating, flushing trembling

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Autonomic Nervous System
  • The ANS enervates controls action of all
    internal organs. It consists of three parts
  • Sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which is
    responsible for arousal of brain body. It is
    important in creating physical responses of
    arousal under stress trauma
  • Parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) which
    inhibits arousal. It restores balance to internal
    organs stress response systems
  • Diffuse enteric nervous system which controls
    digestion peristaltic action

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Nutritional Care of Brain
  • There are some basic rules of eating to follow to
    keep the brain healthy
  • Eat a well balanced diet on a daily basis lots
    of proteins lots of vegetable
  • Eat at least 2 servings of fish a week
  • Limit fat consumption to 30 of caloric intake
  • Reduce amount of sugar intake on a daily
    basis-avoid refined sugars
  • Avoid foods which body is allergic to

Take Supplements to Help brain
  • Multivitamin/multimineral supplement
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid found in fish oil 500
    milligrams a day because it contains both DHA and
    EPA acids which are very beneficial to brain
    given that DHA is the predominant structural
    fatty acid in central nervous system
  • Vitamin E as Gamma Tocopherol this is main
    antioxidant in cellular membranes within brain

Supplements for Neurotransmitters
  • Serotonin supplements Iron, Vitamin B-6 and
    5-Hydroxytryptophan and Tryptophan
  • Norepinephrine and Dopamine supplements Iron and
    Vitamin B-6
  • Acetycholine supplement egg yolks, beef, liver,
    or dairy fats or use phosphatidylserine,
    acetyl-l-carnitine or huperzine-A

Lifestyle Habits to Keep the Brain Healthy (1)
  • 1. Physical Activity and Exercise 3 times
    weekly for 45 minutes including some aerobics
  • Improves cognitive functions sustains cerebral
    blood flow
  • Encourages angiogenesis which is development of
    new blood vessels
  • Increases neurogenesis neuronal growth in

Lifestyle Habits to Keep the Brain Healthy (2)
  • 2. Engaging in intellectually stimulating
    activities throughout life
  • As people age it buffers against
    longitudinally-measured cognitive decline
  • Humans need high levels of cognitive activity
    throughout their adult life to optimize their
    cognitive functioning later on as they age