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Integrative Function of the Nervous System

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Presentation on theme: "Integrative Function of the Nervous System"— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrative Function of the Nervous System

2 Lecture Overview Overview of the Brain Neurotransmitters The Brain

3 The Nervous System

4 Central Nervous System
The CNS is composed of the brain and spinal cord Spinal cord connects the brain with the PNS Spinal cord is comprised of cell bodies and axons that carry messages Afferent: toward the brain (sensory function) Efferent: away from the brain (motor function)

5 Peripheral Nervous System
The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) includes all nerves outside the brain and spinal cord Somatic NS carries sensory messages to brain and motor commands to the muscles Autonomic NS regulates automatic body functions (such as heart rate, breathing) Sympathetic: “Fight or Flight” Parasympathetic: dominant when relaxed

6 The Autonomic Nervous System

7 The Spinal Cord

8 Myelin Myelin is a fatty, waxy substance coating the axon of some neurons. Functions: Speeds neurotransmission Insulates neurons from each other Makes neurotransmission more efficient

9 Synapse The synapse is the junction between an axon terminal and an adjacent dendrite or cell body. Neurotransmitter (NT) molecules are released from the axon terminal into the synapse when the action potential arrives at the axon terminal.

10 The Synapse Synthesis of neurotransmitter (NT)
Storage and transport of NT within vesicles NT Release Activation of postsynaptic receptors Termination of transmitter effect (e.g. reuptake)

11 Neurotransmitters Serotonin Acetylcholine Dopamine Norepinephrine
GABA Endorphins

12 Psychoactive Drugs Psychoactive drugs affect the nervous system to alter mood, emotion, and thought Psychoactive drugs act by: Increasing or decreasing release of neurotransmitters Stimulating or blocking receptor sites

13 Psychoactive Drugs Agonists enhance neurotransmitter function
Antagonists block neurotransmitter function

14 Midline Brain View

15 Brainstem Brainstem is a primitive portion of brain
Pons: involved in respiration, sleep regulation, dreaming Medulla: involved in life support functions such as respiration and heart rate Reticular activating system is an arousal system within the brainstem

16 Subcortical Brain Areas
Corpus callosum: band of axons that interconnects the hemispheres Thalamus: sensory relay area Limbic system: involved in emotionality Hypothalamus: feeding, fleeing, mating, fighting, homeostasis Cerebellum: involved in motor control Subcortical Brain Areas

Water and electrolyte balance Temperature regulation Activation of sympathetic nervous system Thirst and regulation of drinking Hunger, satiety and regulation of feeding Regulation of sexual behavior Regulation of circadian rhythms Pituitary hormone secretion

Hypothalamus plays a major role in regulating biologic rhythms Rhythms persist in absence of time cues Circadian or diurnal rhythms repeat daily External signals of light and darkness serve to entrain the internal clock to a 24 hour day Biologic clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus Input is received from the eye by the retinohypothalamic tract of the optic nerve


20 Limbic System The fornix is a C-shaped bundle of
fibres (axons) in the brain, and carries signals from the hippocampus to the mammillary bodies and septal nuclei. The amygdala is an almond-shaped group of nuclei located deep within the medial temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans. Primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions and considered part of the limbic system. The hippocampus plays important roles in long-term memory and spatial navigation. Like the cerebral cortex, with which it is closely associated, it is a paired structure, with mirror-image halves in the left and right sides of the brain.

BRAIN REWARD SYSTEMS Electrical stimulation of various sites in the limbic system produces either pleasurable (rewarding) or unpleasant (aversive) feelings Dopaminergic neurons play a major role in mediating reward AGGRESSION Stimulation of sites in hypothalamus and amygdala elicits a fight or flight reaction and postures of rage and aggression Severing the cortical connections to the limbic system results in permanent rage postures and aggressiveness SEXUAL ACTIVITY Limbic system in general coordinates sex drive and mating behavior Higher cortical centers exert more or less overriding influences

22 MEMORY AND LEARNING Most likely sites are large association areas of the cerebral cortex working in association with subcortical structures as hippocampus and amygdala Prefrontal cortex is important for coordinating formation of memory Hippocampus is important in consolidating memory Association cortices are important in storing memories Short term memory Product of working memory-prefrontal cortex Long term memory Involves limbic system input

23 Cerebral Cortex Cortex refers to the outer covering of the brain
Consists of left and right hemispheres Cortex is divided into lobes Frontal: Self-awareness, planning, voluntary movement, emotional control, speech, working memory Parietal: Body sensations Occipital: Vision Temporal: Hearing, language comprehension

24 Cortical Lobes

25 Summary of Hemispheric Specializations

26 Motor and Somatosensory Cortex

27 Split-Brain Research When a split-brain patient is asked to stare straight ahead while a photo of a fork is flashed to his left visual field, he cannot name it.

28 Split-Brain Research

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