Since all of these brain functions are carried out by similar mechanisms and are
often in similar locations, mental disturbances are often associated with
alterations in other brain functions as are the drugs used to treat them.
Voluntary Motor Ability
Connects with Limbic
Cough, swallow, sneeze
\u201cFight or Flight\u201d
\u2022Increased salivary flow
\u2022Increased heart rate
\u2022Decreased digestion and intestinal motility
\u2022Decreased urinary bladder activity
\u201cFeed and Breed\u201d or \u201cRest and Digest\u201d
\u2022Decreased salivary flow
\u2022Decreased heart rate
\u2022Increased digestion and intestinal motility
\u2022Increased urinary bladder activity
Stress: Sympathetic nervous system initiates the release of CRH
(corticotropin-releasing hormone), which causes the pituitary to
release ACTH (adrenal corticotropin hormone), which causes the
adrenal cortex to release cortisol. However, all three hormones
influence the functions of the nerve cells in the brain. In mental
illness, depression and anxiety, the normal negative feedback
loop for these hormones does not appear to work.
Anxiety: May activate both parasympathetic nerves (hypermotility of GI,
diarrhea) and sympathetic nerves (vasoconstriction,
Communication of information between neurons is accomplished by movement of chemicals across a
small gap called the synapse. Chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are released from one neuron at the
presynaptic nerve terminal. Neurotransmitters then cross the synapse where they may be accepted by
the next neuron at a specialized site called a receptor. The action that follows activation of a receptor site
may be either depolarization (an excitatory postsynaptic potential) or hyperpolarization (an inhibitory
postsynaptic potential). A depolarization makes it MORE likely that an action potential will fire; a
hyperpolarization makes it LESS likely that an action potential will fire. (Chudler, University of Washington)
There are four elements involved in nerve-to-nerve or nerve-to-muscle communication:
(1) Production or existence of a neurotransmitter;
(2) Release of the neurotransmitter;
(3) Reception of the neurotransmitter by another nerve or cell; and
(4) Inactivation of the neurotransmitter
Different types of chemicals may act as neurotransmitters: small molecules (like the monoamines such as serotonin), amino acids (such as GABA), neuroactive peptides (such as endorphins), and soluble gases (such as nitric oxide).
Neurotransmitters are made in the cell body of the neuron and then transported
down the axon to the axon terminal. Molecules of neurotransmitters are stored in
small "packages" called vesicles. Neurotransmitters are released from the axon
terminal when their vesicles "fuse" with the membrane of the axon terminal,
spilling the neurotransmitter into the synaptic cleft. (Chudler, University of Washington)
The NT will only bind to post-synaptic cell receptors that recognize them. If these
receptors are altered or blocked, then the NT will not bind and the NT action will
molecule removing it from the cleft. The NT will then be destroyed by an intracellular enzyme (such as monoamine oxidase) or be recycled for use later.
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