Human Neuroanatomy in the News and Life. The purpose of this discussion is to help develop your understanding of the structure and function of the human nervous system and use this information to interpret scientific reports and news for personal or professional use.
Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, please read Chapters 1 and 4 from the course text, Biological Bases of Behavior. Additionally, it is recommended that you complete the Neuroanatomy Games learning activity.
The purpose of this discussion is to help develop your understanding of the structure and function of the human nervous system and use this information to interpret scientific reports and news for personal or professional use.
Please answer all of the following prompts as part of your post, and here is a list of recommended online resources, but feel free to choose your own:
Neuroscience News.com (Links to an external site.), Psychology News (Links to an external site.), National Institute of Mental Health (Links to an external
site.), BrainFacts.org (Links to an external site.)
Part 1 (Understanding Brain Science News)
Find a recent, credible, science news article, according to Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.), about the brain or nervous system. After reading the article,
Summarize the most interesting points or claims.
List the names of one or more neuroanatomical regions identified in the news article.
Explain why the source is credible or if it has any threats to credibility or validity.
Comment on how the article’s claims and evidence might apply to work or life.
You must cite sources according to APA: Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.).
Responses for Part 1 must be 150 words or more.
Note: Please find a news article first, not a peer-reviewed journal article. Your goal is to evaluate how neuroscience and biological psychology information is being used in science news articles. To judge the accuracy of the news article, you may also find, read, and reference the peer-reviewed article that the news was reporting. This comparison is optional but recommended.
Part 2 (Relating Anatomy to Function)
Pick a cognitive, emotional, or physical function (e.g., hunger or feeding, vision, hearing, voluntary movement, speech, reading, sleep, etc.) or a psychological or neurological disorder of interest (PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, etc). Use your textbook, the University of Arizona Global Campus Library, or the internet to look up “the neuroanatomy” of that topic.
Be sure to addressing the following:
Explain why the function or disorder interests you.
Name one or more regions of the nervous system which seem to be most responsible for those functions or disorders.
Explain if the topic you chose primarily involves the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, or both.
Explain how you might apply this information to understanding self, others, culture, diversity, health, human performance, work, or life.
If you have already played this week’s neuroanatomy identification game, please comment on what you gained from it, what was easy or difficult, and what questions you might have about the structure of the nervous system.
The nervous system is formed of two parts that are integrally linked with each other. The brain and the nervous system has multiple functions that are vital for normal functioning of the body.
A nerve impulse is essentially an electrical stimulus that travels over the cell’s membrane. It passes through the axons and dendrites of the neurons. It travels via the dendrites from the skin and then reaches the cell body, axon, axon terminals and the Synapse of the neuron.
The Synapse is the junction between two neurons where the impulse moves from one to the other. At the synapse neurotransmitters are present. These are chemical transmitters of messengers that transmit the impulse. They include Acetylcholine and Noradrenaline.
The impulse continues to the next dendrite, in a chain reaction till it reaches the brain that in turn instructs the skeletal muscles to work.
These reflexes are automatic, involuntary responses. They may or may not involve the brain for example blinking does not involve the brain. The Reflex arc is the main functional unit of the nervous system that helps a person react to a stimulus.
Different parts of the nervous system have different functions. They can be outlined as follows.
The brain is made up of several parts. Each part has a certain function:
Thought , voluntary movement , language, reasoning and perception are the major functions of the cerebral cortex.
Cortex literally means “bark” (of a tree) in latin and is so termed because it is a sheet of tissue that makes up the outer layer of the brain.
The thickness of the cerebral cortex is between 2 to 6 mm. The right and left sides of the cerebral cortex are connected by a thick band of nerve fibers called the “corpus callosum.”
The cortex has numerous grooves and bumps to increase its surface area. A bump or bulge on the cortex is called a gyrus (the plural of the word gyrus is “gyri”) and a groove is called a sulcus (the plural of the word sulcus is “sulci”).
The major functions of the cerebellum are maintenance of movement, balance and posture. The word “cerebellum” comes from the Latin word for “little brain.” It is divided into two parts or hemispheres and has a cortex that covers the hemispheres.
The hypothalamus regulates the body temperatures, emotions and hunger, thirst and controls the circadian rhythms.
This pea sized organ is in control of body temperature. It acts like a “thermostat” by sensing changes in body temperature and sends out signals to adjust the temperature.
Brain stem or Medulla oblongata
This area is vital for life as it controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The brain stem comprises of the medulla, pons, tectum, reticular formation and tegmentum.
Works by integrating sensory information and motor information. The thalamus receives sensory information and relays this information to the cerebral cortex.
The cerebral cortex also sends information to the thalamus which then transmits this information to other areas of the brain and spinal cord.
This part of the brain includes amygdala, the hippocampus, mammillary bodies and cingulate gyrus. These help in controlling the emotional response. The hippocampus is also important for learning and memory.
This part works in maintaining balance and movements. It includes structures like the globus pallidus, caudate nucleus, subthalamic nucleus, putamen and substantia nigra.
This part of the brain has sites controlling vision, hearing, eye movement and general body movement. The structures that are part of the midbrain are superior and inferior colliculi and red nucleus.