Neurotransmitters Essay

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What are Neurotransmitters?
The functions of the brain rely heavily on a complex system of communication. The brain’s process of communication is supported by a series of cells called Neurons which submit chemical charges known as Neurotransmitters. Neurons are the foundation for the brain’s functions and consist of three basic parts such as the Cell Body, Dendrites and Axons.
The chemical transmissions from Neurotransmitters are the product of messages being communicated from one Neuron to the next through the axon of the cell. This message is better known as an Action Potential, which is “an excitation that travels along an axon at a constant strength”. (Kalat, 1992)Action Potential can be caused by sodium ions traveling through the axon
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When hippocampal cells lose their functions many episodic memories fade by up to 90 percent. As the disease spreads individuals begin “forgetting” simplistic information such as bladder control and also more sentimental information such as the recognition of family members. There is not yet a cure for the disease however there are multiple drugs that assist in the inhibiting of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme which inactivates acetylcholine at the synapse, preventing the normal breakdown of the neurotransmitter. (wisegeek.com)
Dopamine
Dopamine is neurotransmitter of the brain responsible for the proper usage of a variety of functions including movement, attention, learning, sleep as well as memory. Dopamine is produced in the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain. The brain is dependent of Dopamine to help regulate movement and when there is too little or too much being produced it results in the body making unnecessary movements. A shortage of Dopamine may lead to Parkinson’s Disease which is a shortage of neurons that help produce or control movement. Dopamine is also released during pleasurable situations such as sex, or consuming food when hungry. The neurotransmitter is also responsible for the processing of feeling pain and when levels are low it can increase the pain related symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. (Dr
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Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. The pathways linked with Glutamate are closely related to many other neurotransmitter pathways. Glutamate is known to be a crucial component of the nervous systems of most mammals including humans. Glutamate is responsible for storing not only information needed for every day task but also information needed for cells to survive and function, making it one of the most important neurotransmitters. This information allows for cells to distinguish each other apart, as well as form a connection with synapses. However, with too much Glutamate it can be toxic to the brain causing over excitation of the cell and causing them to die. Glutamate exerts its’s effect on the brain by biding to specific receptors on the nerving. Patient’s with Huntington’s Diseases are over activated by glutamate which is due to the impairments in the patient’s energy metabolism. According to the National Library of Medicine “Patients carrying the mutation display motor dysfunction, manifested as chorea in early stages, then as akinesia and sometimes dystonia in later stages. Other symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability or aggressive behavior”. There is not yet a cure for Huntington Disease but it is recommended for individuals infected to practice a healthy lifestyle accompanied by therapy.

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