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Thread: the brain runs on electricity?

  1. #1 the brain runs on electricity? 
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    how is that? salt has electrolytes

    is this similar?

    so does salt enhance brain activity?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    There are ion transporters in the plasma membrane of neurons that cause an electric potential to be generated. When a stimuli activates a neuron, gates open and the ions rush in and out, which generates a spike in voltage called the action potential.

    Now neurons have processes that stick out called axons that are very long, when the voltage rises in one part, the gates are first activated and then quickly inhibited so that the voltage is returned back to what it was before. However, as it rises it activates the gates next along the axon, so the signal gets propagated. Think of it as a tidal wave running along the nerve, it sinks back to normal as the high point passes. When the action potential reaches the neuron or synapse it results in the release neurotransmitters, and those neurotransmitters can go on to do a number of things depending on the nature of the signal.

    The neurotransmitters are used to communicate between cells, the neurons are capable pf responding at long distances and receive sensory input through action potentials, or in the case of sight the lack of action potentials.

    Edit: salt doesn't enhance brain activity, but without it you die.


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  4. #3  
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    In a way every cell works off electricity; read up about membrane potentials and action potentials; if you want us to explain anything about them to you we'd be glad to help: its a very important area in understanding cell function.
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  5. #4  
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    Electrical sure, but with molecules that's one way of looking at it. Cover your bases and say electrochemical. See, is a battery electrical or chemical?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  6. #5  
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    no pong - it runs on petroleum byproducts. (Idiot)
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    salt doesn't enhance brain activity, but without it you die.
    I recall an apparent mystery about the balance between sodium and potassium. I think this was an older textbook. It said that neurons seemed to operate the same under "sodium dominant" or "potassium dominant" conditions, and why either regime persists for a given period was unknown. Anything come of that? Or should I forget it?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    There are ion transporters in the plasma membrane of neurons that cause an electric potential to be generated. When a stimuli activates a neuron, gates open and the ions rush in and out, which generates a spike in voltage called the action potential.

    Now neurons have processes that stick out called axons that are very long, when the voltage rises in one part, the gates are first activated and then quickly inhibited so that the voltage is returned back to what it was before. However, as it rises it activates the gates next along the axon, so the signal gets propagated. Think of it as a tidal wave running along the nerve, it sinks back to normal as the high point passes. When the action potential reaches the neuron or synapse it results in the release neurotransmitters, and those neurotransmitters can go on to do a number of things depending on the nature of the signal.

    The neurotransmitters are used to communicate between cells, the neurons are capable pf responding at long distances and receive sensory input through action potentials, or in the case of sight the lack of action potentials.

    Edit: salt doesn't enhance brain activity, but without it you die.
    This is what I have read in my Fundamentals of Human Neuropsych text. Action potentials are very important in understanding how the mind works.
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