The process of messages in your brain is a bit more complex then just sending a text message. There are electrical charges and chemicals that help send messages along a neuron, which was explained in a previous post.
The process begins with a chemical called a neurotransmitter. The neurotransmitter attaches to the dendrites of a neuron via receptors which are paired with curtain kinds of neurotransmitters. For example, if serotonin, a transmitter which is responsible for a lot of brain functions like feelings of wellbeing and happiness bonds to the specific serotonin receptor, then messages of wellbeing and happiness will continue to the electrical part of the communication.
The electrical part of the communication process requires things called action potentials. Action potentials are charges that travel along the axon. An action potential is measured in millivolts(mV) of energy. There are several states in an action potential, and they last in about 2-5 milliseconds according to cv physiology.
Phases of Action Potentials:
The first phase of an action potential is the resting state and the energy is measured at roughly -70 mV. The energy is preparing to reach enough energy to reach the minimum threshold or energy to send the action potential further on the axon. Action Potentials are all or nothing so if the energy doesn’t reach the threshold of -55mV then the process has to restart.
After the threshold is reached, then the cell depolarizes, which is a shift in electric charge distribution resulting in a less negative charge inside the cell. After the cell reaches 40mV of energy the cell begins to repolarize which is a shift in electric charge resulting in a more negative charge inside the cell.
This causes the cell to go into the refractory period which is a period where the charge is below that of the resting state. Once the cell is reset to the resting state the process starts over until the message is at the end of the axon.
More chemical communication?
Once the message reaches the end of the axon, transmitters decide which type of transmitter is required to be sent out via the terminals to find their way to the associated receptor to begin the same process again.
Why are is neuron communication so important for the brain to communicate?
Without this communication your brain would lack capability of running smoothly and would lack basic functioning. In this case, the brain can be compared to a computer.
“I think the brain is essentially a computer and consciousness is like a computer program. It will cease to run when the computer is turned off. Theoretically, it could be re-created on a neural network, but that would be very difficult, as it would require all one’s memories.”Stephan Hawking
What is next for Neuropsych Nerd?
The next blog post will explain the four different lobes or sections of the cerebral cortex and what the function is for all of them.