2Electrical signals travel from the brain along the neurons (wires) to a particular device like a muscle cell, a heart cell, lungs, eyes, ears, liver, a feeling, a thought, an emotion, a dream, etc.neurons fromNeurons in the brain - illustration. Credit: Benedict Campbell.
3What do neurons look like? There are 10 billion nerve cells in the brain.Transductions – neurons – Feb. 4th, 2010 by WolfIMAGES FROM RESEARCH - NEURONS AND NEURONAL PROTEINS by Robert S. McNeil
4Axons: Electric charge transmitters Dendrites:Electric-chargereceiversSoma(Cell Body)AxonMyelinDirection of electrical charge to the next neuronCell nucleusAxons: Electric charge transmittersSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
5How Does a Neuron Carry An Electrical Charge? Neurons attach to each other through the synapse gap (doorbell button or electric switch) carrying an electrical charge from one neuron to the other. These neurons form the “wires” or nerves carrying information throughout our body.
6Often many neurons are linked together where the dendrite connects to the axon carrying electrical signals along their path.AxonDendriteElectrical ConnectionDirection of current flowSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
7Dendrites Connected to Axons Act Like Electric Switches Allowing an Electrical Charge to Move Along a WireSWITCHAxonDendriteSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
8Involuntary NeuronsNeurons are used to carry electrical signals for involuntary processes: digest your food, keep your heart beating, repair cells, clean your blood, create thoughts and emotions (fear, lust, jealousy, self-esteem), carry light images from your eyes to your brain, create hearing-touch-taste-smell, fight disease, grow a baby, create the sensation of hunger, etc….
9Voluntary NeuronsNeurons are also used to carry electrical signals for voluntary movements like moving muscles (running, walking, writing, working, typing, taking a bath, getting dressed, driving a car) or for thinking (solving a problem, creating art, reading a book, meditating, imagining things).
10Neuron SignalsYour brain triggers six trillion electrical signals through your neurons every second to operate your body and allow you freedom of thought, movement and life.How much is six trillion? Well, six trillion pennies stacked end-on-end, would go from the earth to the moon, 243,000 miles, twenty-four times!Mental illness is a disease of these electrical circuits in the brain.
11The electrical signal is passed from one neuron to the next to the next until it is either blocked or it reaches its targeted device (muscle, thought, heart beat, eye, tongue, hand, etc.). That’s how memory works, how the entire body works, how we think, how our emotions make us aware of pleasure, panic, and sorrow; that’s how we run, speak, fight disease, heal a scratch, see, hear, taste, touch, yell at our kids – all through electrical connections going through nerves carried from one neuron to the next.
12Synapse Connection (switch) Axon Connected to a Dendrite) Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
13What does the connection of two neurons look like? Axon endSynaptic Cleft (the gap) Electrical ConnectionThe Brain Bank Your plastic brainPosted on June 20, 2011 by Brain Bank MancDendrite end
14AXON TERMINAL END Dendrite End End of first neuron Start of next neuronAXON TERMINAL ENDDendrite EndSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
16The Synapse GapNeurons, although they carry the electrical charge from one neuron to the next, are not actually touching each other, but separated by a very small gap called the “synapse cleft or gap” serving as an open switch or doorbell button. Something must happen to push the doorbell button, to throw the switch, to carry the electrical charge across this gap to the next neuron.
17Dendrite There is a gap or empty space between the two connecting neurons.End of first neuronStart of next neuronIncoming electricalchargeAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteGap orSynaptic CleftSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
18When an electrical charge reaches the end of the first neuron at the axon, it causes vesicles, being tiny bags containing chemical neurotransmitters, to drop down and release their contents into the synapse cleft or gap. The yellow round molecules represent one of over 100 different chemicals your brain uses as neurotransmitters to carry the electrical charge across the gap to the dendrite receptors, being the next neuron. This transfer of electrical-to-chemical-to-electrical information is how the brain controls all functions necessary for life.AXONVesiclesNeuro-transmittersReceptorDendrite
19Let’s take another look at this illustration. Notice the vesicles? Axon endSynaptic Cleft (the gap) Electrical ConnectionThe Brain Bank Your plastic brainPosted on June 20, 2011 by Brain Bank MancDendrite end
20Vesicle Neurotransmitter (Serotonin) Receptor Start of next neuron Continuation of charge tonext neuron.Incoming electricalchargeAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorVesicleNeurotransmitter(Serotonin)Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. CramSource: NAMI–Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2–Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse–page Paragraph 3
21NeurotransmittersIf the neurotransmitter (chemical making the electrical connection between two neurons) is in the part of the brain controlling the beating heart, the electrical impulses will go along the chain of neurons to the heart muscle causing it to pump.If the neurons are in the part of the brain controlling voluntary muscle control, and you are trying to wave good-bye, the electrical impulses will go along a chain of neurons to the muscle cells in the arm allowing you to wave good-bye.
22NeurotransmittersIf the neurons are in the part of the brain controlling emotions, and you are in a crisis situation, instinct will trigger the electrical neurotransmitter impulses resulting in the fight-or-flight response and the necessary emotions and muscle action (fighting, yelling, threatening, blocking an attack, fleeing, running, jumping out of the way, etc.).
23NeurotransmittersIf the neurons are in the part of the brain controlling emotions and you are Bipolar, extra neurotransmitters may carry excessive electrical “good feeling” impulses (manic) or insufficient neurotransmitters may carry a deficient amount of “good feeling” impulses (depression) without your permission. The neurons and neurotransmitters simply take over. This is what many experts think happens with bipolar, but they’re not absolutely sure.
24In the following illustration, the neurotransmitter is serotonin (yellow circle ) and it carries the electrical charge from the axon into the gap. When enough serotonin binds into the receptors of the next neuron, the electric charge will be forwarded. This communication between neurons is brief, lasting about 1 millisecond.
25Dendrite Receptor Continuation of charge to next neuron Start of next neuronVesicleContinuation of charge tonext neuronIncoming electricalchargeAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorNeurotransmitter(Serotonin)Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
26The serotonin molecules are shown as round and the receptors (docking sites) that receive them are the correctly sized semi-circular dish so the round serotonin molecule fits perfectly into the receptor, thus transmitting the electric charge Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2 – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page 6.23Start of next neuronGap orSynaptic CleftVesicleContinuation of charge tonext neuron.Incoming electricalchargeAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
27If a chemical other than the round serotonin molecule were to enter the synapse gap, assuming each molecule has a unique molecular shape, it would probably not fit into the receptor being a different shape, and therefore not transfer the electrical charge to the next neuron.Neurotransmitter orchemical other than ProzacStart of next neuronContinuation of charge tonext neuron.Incoming electricalchargeAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteWill not fit into receptor; therefore, will not carryforward a charge.ReceptorSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
28Once the neurotransmitter, in this case the yellow serotonin, delivers the electrical charge to the receptors of the next neuron, its job has been completed – it has delivered its message. New messages (electrical charges) will soon be coming down from the axon in other vesicles so the “used” serotonin must leave the synapse cleft or gap so it does not interfere with the new messages.
29The serotonin is released from the receptor and then removed from the gap two ways: (1) an uptake pump passes the serotonin back up into the original axon from which it came (2) a chemical enzyme metabolizes the serotonin getting rid of it.Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2 – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page 6.23 paragraph 6
30In the next illustration, notice the addition of the uptake pump In the next illustration, notice the addition of the uptake pump. It is the correct size and shape to remove the serotonin molecule. Serotonin is removed from the gap by passing into the uptake pump and delivered back into the axon. Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2 – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page ) Reuptake
31Uptake Pump Dendrite Continuation of charge to next neuron. Start of next neuronContinuation of charge tonext neuron.AXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteUptakePumpSerotonin molecules being released by the receptor after they delivered their charge. They are going to the uptake pump.Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
32Sometimes an enzyme, released from the axon, breaks down the serotonin molecules and removes them from the synapse cleft. This “clean-up enzyme” action, where the serotonin is metabolized (broken down) is a second way of removing a neurotransmitter from the gap serving the same purpose as the uptake pump. Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2 – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page ) MetabolismEntering enzyme is shaped to remove serotonin molecule from the synapsecleft area.Forward motionof enzyme.SerotoninSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
33Clean-up enzyme Serotonin being metabolized (broken down) by Start of next neuronContinuation of charge tonext neuron.AXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorSerotonin beingmetabolized(broken down) bythe enzyme.Clean-upenzymeSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
34Neurotransmitters and Emotions *****UNDERSTAND THIS*****In the emotional sections of the brain, the electrical charge created by neurotransmitters through the synapse gap IS our sensation and awareness of life. It is where emotions are created, felt, and realized. It is where we experience life and are aware that we exist!
35NeurotransmittersThese neurotransmitters (Over 100 different chemicals like dopamine and serotonin) are critical in understanding how we feel, our moods, our aggression, our stress levels, how we function, how we think, and whether or not we are in a nurturing relationship or locked in a straight jacket.
36NeurotransmittersThat sudden sadness you feel when hurt by some one you love is felt because of neurotransmitters. That panic you feel when suddenly frightened is felt because of neurotransmitters. “Road rage” is felt because of neurotransmitters. Are you afraid of spiders or high places? Are you bipolar and experience depression and manic episodes? Do you have panic attacks? OCD? ADHD? Yep – neurotransmitters!
37NeurotransmittersIf your “feel good” neurotransmitters are sufficient you will most likely experience happiness, motivation, focus, emotional stability, good feelings toward others, and calmness through difficulties.
38NeurotransmittersIf your “feel good” neurotransmitters are deficient you may feel depression, panic or anxiety, sleeplessness, moody periods, irritability, over aggressiveness, and stress.
39Some Types of Neurotransmitters and Their Function Its FunctionToo MuchToo LittleSerotoninMood regulation, hunger, sleep, problems with anger control, sexual desire, decreased anxietyDepression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suicide, irrationalDopamineMotor movement and alertness/ attention, good feelings, aggression, thinking, planningParkinson's diseaseSchizophrenia, lack of remorse, inability to feel love or affectionEndorphinsPain control, stress reduction, feelings of pleasure, "natural opiates“Potentially involved in addictionSense of inadequacy, inability to combat painAcetylcholine AChCritical to motor movement, learning, and memory; has a part in scheduling REM (dream) sleep.Alzheimer's and muscle disorders.GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)Brain's major inhibitory neurotransmitter, reduced anxiety, reduced insomniaSeizures, insomnia, anxiety disorder, epilepsy, racing thoughtsNor epinephrine"Fight or Flight,“ controls alertness, arousal, elevates heart rate, circulation, respiration, and mood elevationDepressed mood, racing heart, manic, elevated blood pressureLack of energy, lack of drive, reduced focus on goalsGlutamateBrain's major excitatory neurotransmitter, creates links between neurons that form basis of learning, long-term memoryLou Gehrig's diseaseOver stimulation of the brain, seizuresGeneral Psychology – Neurotransmitters - Dr. C. George Boeree 2009; Healthy Botanicals
40Dopamine and Serotonin Pathways in the BrainNIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse July Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care
41When sufficient serotonin or dopamine or another “feeling” neurotransmitter is in the synapse cleft “the gap,” feelings of peace and less agitation are enjoyed. When an insufficient amount is in the gap, feelings of agitation might be experienced.
42If a way could be found to keep the serotonin in the cleft for longer periods of time before it is removed by the uptake pump or enzyme, then more peaceful feelings and less stress could be experienced.
43Prozac and Zoloft are called “serotonin reuptake inhibitors Prozac and Zoloft are called “serotonin reuptake inhibitors.” Their molecular shapes imitate the shape of the serotonin molecule. They assume the role of serotonin in the synapse cleft confusing the uptake pump or the clean-up enzyme into removing the Prozac or Zoloft instead of the serotonin; thus the serotonin stays longer in the cleft connecting to the receptors and increasing feelings of peace, self-esteem, and well being.
44Notice the pink molecules. They represent the drug Prozac Notice the pink molecules. They represent the drug Prozac. Although their molecular shape is different than the yellow serotonin molecules, it is similar enough to fit into the uptake pump; therefore, when the uptake pump eliminates some of the pink molecules (Prozac) instead of the serotonin, more serotonin molecules will remain in the gap increasing connections with the receptors, passing on their charge, and creating more peaceful feelings of wellbeing.AXONSerotoninProzacCleftEnteringcapture-enzymeUptake pump removing ProzacElectric ChargeGAPCharge movingon to next neuronDENDRITE
45DopamineDopamine is a neurotransmitters like serotonin playing an important role in our “reward” and “pleasure” centers and is instrumental in regulating many normal and pathological behaviors.
46All anti-psychotic drugs prevent dopamine from binding to the receptors on the receiving cell neuron (dendrite). This blocks the electrical charge from going on to the next neuron, thus blocking the stressful emotion inherent in the neurotransmitter.Axon endGapSource: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2A – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page 6.24Dendrite endUptake Pump removing DopamineDopamineCleft or GapAnti-psychotic drug entering receptors blocking dopamine from carrying the feeling charge to the next neuron.Axon Gap DendriteReceptorsSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
47Instinct and Neurotransmitters Homo Sapiens Sapiens, being us - modern-day humans - instinctually, need to feel good about themselves, to develop feelings of self-worth and accomplishment which results from endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and other “feel good” neurotransmitters entering the “synapse gap.”When something occurs indicating a boost in self-worth is justified (graduating from school, winning a game or race, giving birth, completing a project, falling in love, getting public recognition for accomplishments, etc.) endorphins and other “feel good” neurotransmitters are triggered to enter the “synapse gap” in the emotional part of the brain.
48Recreational Drugs and Neurotransmitters Unfortunately, there are easier ways to feel the wonderful sensations and euphoria created in the “synapse gap” without completing a great accomplishment.Alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, cocaine, heroine, nicotine, and other recreational drugs increase the levels of dopamine because of their similar molecular shapes. They “fool” the uptake pump into eliminating them from the gap, thus increasing dopamine levels and the associated feelings of well being.LSD, mescaline, and ecstasy work by attaching to serotonin receptor sites and thereby blocking emotional signals from connecting to the receptors of the next neuron.General Psychology 2009 Neurotransmitters Dr. C. George Boeree
49Neurotransmitters and Feelings Humans seek pleasure and avoid pain Neurotransmitters and Feelings Humans seek pleasure and avoid pain. Feelings of pleasure and euphoria come from great accomplishments. They also come from artificial stimuli like drugs.DopamineCleftMarijuanaCharge from axonUptake pump removing marijuana& cocaineCocaineMore dopamine in the gap connecting with the receptors.Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
50MorphineMorphine reduces pain and is often given to patients in hospitals and the wounded on battle fields for this purpose.The morphine molecule has a similar shape as the neurotransmitters in the neurons transmitting pain signals, but the morphine molecule will not carry the electrical charge forward to the next neuron once it is in the receptor, thus blocking the pain signal.
51Morphine Molecule – a pain reducer Start of next neuronNeurotransmitterin pain-sendingneuron.Continuation of charge tonext neuron.AXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorMorphine molecule blocks pain signal - no electric charge is carried forward – thus pain is reducedSource: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
52Medicine Side EffectsWhen medicines are introduced into the human body they unfortunately do not only enter the cells and neurons associated with the illness they are trying to relieve, but other areas of the body and brain as well.Medications designed to treat schizophrenia affect the neurons associated with that disease in the brain, but they also connect with the neurons that affect saliva regulation; thus one of the side effects of these medications is dry mouth.
53Medicine Side EffectsMedicines also enter the synapse gaps of neurons that control muscles, heart rate, vision, weight gain, constipation, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, nausea, and many others. These medications interfere with the neuron’s neurotransmitter keeping it from performing its normal function (heart rate, vision, muscle movements, etc.) by blocking the receptors, stopping the uptake pump, stopping the metabolizing enzyme, or by having the uptake pump remove the medicine instead of the existing neurotransmitter.
54Medicine Side EffectsProlixin is a drug frequently prescribed for schizophrenia because it helps eliminate delusions and social withdraw by affecting the neurotransmitters causing the disease.Prolixin also enters other neurons in the brain that control muscle movements (hand tremors are created), that influence the eyes (blurred vision is a side effect), and that control the heart (a rapid heart beat can result) Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 9 – First Generation Typical Narcoleptic Medications – page 6.36
55Anti-depressant drugs called MAO inhibitors prevent the metabolic Prozac and Zoloft are drugs called reuptake inhibitors and they do their work in the gap by being absorbed by the uptake pump leaving more serotonin in the gap. When more serotonin is in the gap, there is more chance for stimulation by the serotonin at the receiving receptors, thus increasing feelings of wellbeing.Anti- depressant medications do not interfere with neurotransmitter transmissions across the gap like Prozac does, but instead they block the reuptake pump, thus leaving more neurotransmitters in the gap to react with the receptors of the next neuron.Anti-depressant drugs called MAO inhibitors prevent the metabolicbreakdown of neurotransmitters by interfering with the removing enzyme, thus leaving more neurotransmitter in the gap.Anti-psychotic drugs block the dendrite’s receptors from carrying thecharge to the next neuron, thus blocking the painful emotional signals.Source: NAMI – Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2 – Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse – page 6.24
56Prozac Receptor Dendrite Anti-depressant medications block the uptake pumpAXON TERMINAL ENDDendriteReceptorReuptake inhibitor drugs – Prozac & Zoloft – are absorbed by the uptake pump leaving more serotonin in the gap for the receptorsAnti-depressant MAO inhibitors prevent the enzymefrom breaking down the neurotransmitterAnti-psychotic drugs block the receivingreceptors from carrying the charge to the next neuronProzacSource: NAMI–Family to Family Course, Class 6, Handout 2A–Basic Neuro-transmission at the Synapse–page 6.24Source: Modeling Future Heroes, A Practical Application of Heroic Values, By Roger F. Cram
58Brain disorders and mental illness are often caused by an over or under developed portion of the brain. Neurons misfiring, too much of a neurotransmitter, and more often, a neurotransmitter deficiency are contributing factors. An irregular brain development during adolescence is often suspected for causing mental illness or an injury or a suspicious gene deciding to fire at the beginning of puberty.
59Many of the causes of mental illness and brain disorders are still a mystery with research continuing every day. But one thing is for sure, whatever the causes and treatments that are discovered, you can bet neurons and neurotransmitters will play an intricate role.Image Source Page:
60The End of this presentation… …the beginning of hope.Picture Source: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News May 4th 2011
61Sources of Material and Photo Credits: NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse July Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed CareModeling Future Heroes, a Practical Application of Heroic Values, by Roger F. Cram, book in progressNAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) nami.orgNAMI – Family-to-Family Teacher’s ManualGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, May 4, 2011neurons fromThe Brain Bank Your plastic brainPosted on June 20, 2011 by Brain Bank MancNeurons in the brain - illustration. Credit: Benedict CampbellGeneral Psychology – Neurotransmitters - Dr. C. George Boeree 2009Healthy BotanicalsIMAGES FROM RESEARCH - NEURONS AND NEURONAL PROTEINS by Robert S. McNeilTransductions – neurons – Feb. 4th, 2010 by Wolf