My College Class Notes

A place to share my class notes…

The Brain, Nervous System and Behavior

with 4 comments

Neuron: The basic unit of the nervous system, the “nerve cell” is a long thin call which receives, processes, and generates “messages” (neurological impulses) to and from the brain, as well as within the brain itself.

The neuron is made up of various structures

Dendrites – the receptors of the neuron which receive stimulation.

Cell body – the part of the neuron which perfume metabolic activity, generates nervous impulses, and transmits outgoing impulses;

Cell nucleus – the “core” of the neuron which contains the genetic material;

Axon – the fiber shaped part of the neuron which transmits impulses to other neurons or receptors by forwarding them to the end of the branches (axon terminals) where they are released to other neurons, muscles or glands of the body;

Myelin sheath – the fatty protective tissue that covers, insulates and protects neurons, as well as speeding up the process of neural transmissions;

The nodes (nodes of Ranvier) – the constriction along the axon which serves to speed up the transmission of neurological transmissions;

Terminal branches – The parts of a neuron that send messages to other neurons or to muscles or glands.

Synaptic knobs (“bouton”) – enlarges tips at the end of the axon terminals (end branches) where the synaptic vesicles are located.

Synaptic vesicles – the very tiny “sacks” which contain neurotransmitters;

Synapse – the space between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites of another

 

 

Types of neurons

Afferent Neurons

Neurons which transmit impulses from the various sensory organs to the central nervous system (also known as sensory neurons).

Association Neurons 

Neurons which transmit impulses between neurons within the nervous system (also known as connecting neurons).

Efferent neurons 

Neurons which transmit impulses from the central nervous system to various glands, muscles, and organs systems of the body.

 

 

Branches of the Nervous System

Central Nervous System (CNS)
The part of the nervous system which consists of the brain and spinal cord.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

The part of the nervous system that is made up of nerves (bundles of neurons “ganglia” ) which exist outside the brain and spinal cord, that extend throughout the body. 

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
The part of the nervous system that extends down the sides of the spinal cord that extend (with many connections to the spinal cord), which connect the central nervous to the various glands and smooth muscle of the body. Ther are two divisions of the ANS,:

  1. The Sympathetic Division: (which “activates” the various glands and muscles to prepare the body for “fight of flight”).
  2. The Parasympathetic Division (which slows down the body, promotes relaxation, regulates heart beat and digestion, etc.)

 

The human brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) have been described as the most complex living structure in the known universe. Although rather unimpressive in its appearance, (about the size and shape of a cantaloupe weighing about three and one half pounds) the brain contains billions of neurons and trillion of synaptic connections among them. The brain regulates and controls all of the physical and psychological functions of the human being

Subcortical structures of the brain

Subcortical refers to all the parts of the brain that lie under the cerebral cortex

 

Subcortical Structures of the brain


Brainstem

As the spinal cord enters the head, it enlarges and becomes the brainstem (the “hindbrain” or “old brain”), the oldest part of the brain where neurological messages are received; the entry of the twelve cranial nerves that control all vital functions and coordinate reflexes.

Medulla 

Responsible for circulation, respiration, digestion, and coordinating autonomic nervous system function; relay station.

Pons

Connects the two hemispheres of the cerebellum, organize reflexes associated with posture, helps maintain balance and equilibrium; helps organize basic movement patters working in coordination with the medulla.

Cerebellum 

(Term means “little brain”) coordinates muscular activity and most important function is to initiate and control rapid movement of the limbs (i.e. run, jump a hurdle, kick a ball, throw a ball, etc.); receive and integrate information from various senses and determines which muscle groups to activate.

 

 

 

Subcortical Structures of the brain: Midbrain

Midbrain

The region between the “old brain” and the evolutionary “new brain” or cerebrum (Latin word for brain); it is the second anatomical structure to have evolved and is made up of several structures whose functions are interrelated.

Reticular Activation System (RAS)

A network of nerves that controls attention, wakefulness, alertness and states or arousal; serves as a relay station for messages from sensory organs.

Thalamus

A major relay station for information from the body to the cerebral cortex.

Hypothalamus

A small but extraordinary important structure connected to the structures of the limbic system, and directly involved in regulating the internal environment of the body by influencing the autonomic nervous system, controlling the release of hormones, controlling certain drives such as hunger, thirst, sexual arousal, regulating body temperature and helps regulate emotional states such as lust, fear, and rage.

Limbic System 

(from the Latin word limbus meaning border or edge) this structure is the border between the older evolutionary parts of the brain (below) and the newest part of the brain (above) and is made up of the Amygdala (connected with the olfactory sense [smell] and its relation to certain drives and emotions), and the Hippocampus (critical to the formation of memories).

 

 

Anatomically the uppermost part of the brain and the “newest” part in the evolutionary sense, and the mass of tissue which surrounds the suborbital structures, some times referred to as the forebrain, neocortex, or “new brain”.

 

cortical Structures of the brain

Cerebral Cortex

The outer part of the brain (cortex from the Latin word for “bark” in anatomical use means outer layer of a structure). It is by far the largest part of the human brain, accounting for about 80 percent of its volume, and its surface area is much greater that it appears because it folds inward in many places. Approximately one third of the surface is visible, and the remaining two thirds is buried within the folds. The cerebral cortex is divided into left and right hemispheres, and each hemisphere is further divided into four lobes that are demarked by rather prominent folds. the lobes are the Frontal, Parietal, Temporal, and the Occipital lobes.

Left Hemisphere

Receives sensory messages from and controls the right side of the body; associated with analytical thought, language and speech, writing, mathematical calculations, step-by-step reasoning, critical thought and other intellectual functions.

Right Hemisphere

Receives sensory messages form and controls the left side of the body; associated with spatial orientation and spatial relationships, pattern recognition, emotionality, music, unstructured thought, intuition and creativity.

Corpus collosum

A thick bundle of interconnecting neurons that connects the two hemispheres and assures constant communication between them.

Frontal lobes 

Association cortex associated with planning, problem solving, relating past to present, thinking and a variety of other higher mental processes, including memory. 

Sensor-i-motor Cortex

A specialized strip behind the frontal lobes which regulates voluntary movement of the body in response to impulses from other parts of the cortex. 

Temporal Lobes 

Associated with processing auditory stimuli ad language formation. 

Parietal Lobes 

Associated with integrating and processing sensory, bodily sensation, touch, texture, etc.

Occipital Lobes 

Associated with processing visual stimuli. 

 

Important Terms and Concepts

Afferent Neurons 

Neurons which transmit impulses from the various sensory organs to the central nervous system (also known as sensory neurons).

Association Neurons 

Neurons which transmit impulses between neurons within the nervous system (also known as connecting neurons).

Association Cortex

 

Axon 

the fiber shaped part of the neuron which transmits impulses to other neurons or receptors by forwarding them to the end of the branches (axon terminals) where they are released to other neurons, muscles or glands of the body;

Brain imaging 

 

CAT scan 

 

Cell body 

the part of the neuron which perfume metabolic activity, generates nervous impulses, and transmits outgoing impulses;

Central Nervous System (CNS) 

The part of the nervous system which consists of the brain and spinal cord.

Cerebellum 

(Term means “little brain”) coordinates muscular activity and most important function is to initiate and control rapid movement of the limbs (i.e. run, jump a hurdle, kick a ball, throw a ball, etc.); receive and integrate information from various senses and determines which muscle groups to activate.

Cerebral Cortex 

The outer part of the brain (cortex from the Latin word for “bark” in anatomical use means outer layer of a structure). It is by far the largest part of the human brain, accounting for about 80 percent of its volume, and its surface area is much greater that it appears because it folds inward in many places. Approximately one third of the surface is visible, and the remaining two thirds is buried within the folds. The cerebral cortex is divided into left and right hemispheres, and each hemisphere is further divided into four lobes that are demarked by rather prominent folds. the lobes are the Frontal, Parietal, Temporal, and the Occipital lobes

Connecting neuron 

 

Corpus collosum 

A thick bundle of interconnecting neurons that connects the two hemispheres and assures constant communication between them

Electroencephalogram (EEG) 

 

Dendrite 

the receptors of the neuron which receive stimulation.

Efferent neurons 

Neurons which transmit impulses from the central nervous system to various glands, muscles, and organs systems of the body.

Endocrine glands 

 

Endorphins 

 

Frontal lobes 

Association cortex associated with planning, problem solving, relating past to present, thinking and a variety of other higher mental processes, including memory

Ganglia 

 

Glia cells 

 

Hippocampus 

 

Hypothalamus 

A small but extraordinary important structure connected to the structures of the limbic system, and directly involved in regulating the internal environment of the body by influencing the autonomic nervous system, controlling the release of hormones, controlling certain drives such as hunger, thirst, sexual arousal, regulating body temperature and helps regulate emotional states such as lust, fear, and rage.

Left hemisphere 

Receives sensory messages from and controls the right side of the body; associated with analytical thought, language and speech, writing, mathematical calculations, step-by-step reasoning, critical thought and other intellectual functions.

Limbic system 

(from the Latin word limbus meaning border or edge) this structure is the border between the older evolutionary parts of the brain (below) and the newest part of the brain (above) and is made up of the Amygdala (connected with the olfactory sense [smell] and its relation to certain drives and emotions), and the Hippocampus (critical to the formation of memories).

Medulla 

Responsible for circulation, respiration, digestion, and coordinating autonomic nervous system function; relay station.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 

A structural brain imaging method that uses the magnetic.

Myelin sheath 

the fatty protective tissue that covers, insulates and protects neurons, as well as speeding up the process of neural transmissions;

Neurons 

The basic unit of the nervous system, the “nerve cell” is a long thin call which receives, processes, and generates “messages” (neurological impulses) to and from the brain, as well as within the brain itself.

Neuroscience 

 

Neurotransmitter 

 

Nodes 

the constriction along the axon which serves to speed up the transmission of neurological transmissions;

Nucleus 

the “core” of the neuron which contains the genetic material;

Parasympathetic division 

which slows down the body, promotes relaxation, regulates heart beat and digestion, etc.)

Peripheral Nervous System

The part of the nervous system that is made up of nerves (bundles of neurons “ganglia” ) which exist outside the brain and spinal cord, that extend throughout the body.

Positron emission tomography (PET) 

 

Pituitary gland 

 

Reticular Activation System (RAS)

A network of nerves that controls attention, wakefulness, alertness and states or arousal; serves as a relay station for messages from sensory organs

Right hemisphere 

Receives sensory messages form and controls the left side of the body; associated with spatial orientation and spatial relationships, pattern recognition, emotionality, music, unstructured thought, intuition and creativity.

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Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 8:44 am

4 Responses

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  1. Many thanks for this. Really helpful in a blog post I’m doing

    Cheers

    Si

    siconroy

    July 8, 2008 at 7:15 pm

  2. […] College Class Notes give a nice overview on the brain, nervous system and […]

  3. Omg!!! Thanks so well organized. Really helping me with my psychology class!!! Many thanks!!! You’re awesome!!

    Gabby

    January 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm


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