femme Neuroscience

Some Topics

  • Basal Ganglia

    The cerebral hemispheres sit over clusters of neurons that are essential to animal life. The central clusters are referred to as thalami and the lateral clusters are referred to as basal ganglia. The names are old and obsolete but, because they are imbedded in all neuroscience descriptions, perservation overrides innovation. The striatum includes the caudate nucleus and the putamen. The name describes the striated appearance created by myelinated axons passing among clusters of neurons. The neocortex sends converging inputs to the striatum. Motor neurons project to the spines of the spiny neurons using glutamate as the neurotransmitter. Nigrostriatal neurons synapse on the spine shafts. Other inputs come from the thalamus, the subthalamic nucleus and the globus pallidus.

    There abundant examples of movement disorders that emerge when components of the basal ganglia are damaged. Involuntary movements include tremors (rhythmic, oscillatory movements), athetosis (slow, writhing movements), chorea (abrupt movements of the limbs and facial muscles), ballism (violent movements), and dystonia (persistent postures, grotesque movements and postures).

    Huntington's disease is a genetic disorder that caused by loss of striatal neurons with decreased output of the basal ganglia to the thalamus The result is hyperkineticity, involuntary movements associated with a form of dementia that features reduced ability to plan and execute routine tasks, slowed thought, and impaired judgment.

    The intriguing feature of these old modules is that they do not control movement directly by sending signals through the brain stem and spinal cord. They are recursively wired to neurons in the thalamus and cerebral cortex. When you recognize that all interaction with the outside is accomplished by movement, and the cognition is a collection of abilities that link the outside to the inside, you might appreciate that that the basal ganglion and thalamus play a central role in cognition.

    When you recognize that all interaction with the outside is accomplished by movement, you might appreciate that that the basal ganglion and thalamus play a central role in cognition. You can argue that innate features of all animals that persist in humans are produced by the inborn structure and fixed functions of the basal ganglia, thalamus and limbic system working together to link inside and outside. The cerebral cortex adds sophisticated sensing and learning capabilities that can direct but not supersede innate behaviors. For example, Cohen et al stated: “We found that personality characteristics are linked to dissociable connectivity streams in the human brain. Activity between a subcortical network, including the hippocampus and amygdala, and the ventral striatum predicted individual differences in novelty seeking; tracts between prefrontal cortex and the striatum predicted individual differences in reward dependence. These findings suggest that the strength of limbic-striatal connectivity may, in part, underlie human personality traits.”

     [i] Michael Cohen, Jan-Christoph Schoene-Bake, Christian E Elger & Bernd Weber. Connectivity-based segregation of the human striatum predict. personality characteristics. Nature Neuroscience 12, 32 - 34 (2008) Published online: November 2008 | doi:10.1038/nn.2228

  • Neuroscience Notes

  • This book places the human brain at the center of the universe. Since the brain is the organ of the mind, consciousness and all knowledge is contained within the brain. Everyone needs to know something about neuroscience. The brain has become a popular topic in all media, but confusions arise when the brain becomes an abstract fantasy in the minds of journalists and product promoters. While it is true that brain is the organ of the mind, our language makes it difficult to speak correctly at different levels of meaning. Neuroscience notes will give the intelligent reader and understanding of how the brain actually works.

  • Neuroscience Notes is part of the Persona Digital Psychology and Philosophy Series of related books. The closely related volumes are the Human Brain, Language and Thinking, Emotions and Feelings, Intelligence and Learning. Neuroscience notes is available as eBook download from Alpha Online.
  • The author is Stephen Gislason MD The latest date of publication is 2018. 306 Pages 

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