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Neurotransmitters - Definition, Effects and Treatment

Neurotransmitters play a vital role in both our minds and bodies; please respond to the following items:

1. Define neurotransmitters and describe their role in neurotransmission. Discuss how they are released, how they affect receiving neurons, and how they are removed from receptor sites.

2. Pick one neurotransmitter and discuss the effect it has on our bodies. Also discuss the transmitter's connection with disease or disorders.

3. Once you have discussed a specific disease associated with neurotransmitter imbalance, describe the treatment options available as well as identify an individual associated with the disease. For example, Michael J. Fox's battle with Parkinson's disease.

4. Discuss the importance of biology for understanding behavior.

- Apply critical thinking skills to the content of the course.
- Define the main biological influences of psychology
- Provide references.

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RESPONSE:

1. Define neurotransmitters and describe their role in neurotransmission. Discuss how they are released, how they affect receiving neurons, and how they are removed from receptor sites.

Neurotransmitter is defined as "a chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurological information from one cell to another?(http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9973)

These neurotransmitters are released by the neurons. In fact, most neurons achieve their effect by releasing chemicals, the neurotransmitters, on a receiving cell: another neuron (a "postsynaptic" neuron), a muscle cell or a a gland cell. In the brain, it is released into the synaptic cleft, creating an action potential (excitatory or inhibitory), which sends messages to another neuron, muscle cell or gland cell. Thus, the cells communicate with each other via the neurotransmitters e.g. move your arm, feel sad, etc. (http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/S/Synapses.html).

See diagram of the process at http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/matthews/nmj.html.

2. Pick one neurotransmitter and discuss the effect it has on our bodies. Also discuss the transmitter's connection with disease or disorders.

Dopamine is one neurotransmitter in our body. It is defined:

"Dopamine is classified as a catecholamine (a class of molecules that serve as neurotransmitters and hormones). It is a monoamine (a compound containing nitrogen formed from ammonia by replacement of one or more of the hydrogen atoms by hydrocarbon radicals). Dopamine is a precursor (forerunner) of adrenaline and a closely related molecule, noradrenaline. Dopamine is formed by the decarboxylation (removal of a carboxyl group) from dopa. ?(http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=14345)

Low levels of Dopamine are implicated in diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Schizophrenia.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the nervous system, meaning it becomes increasingly disabling over time. People with Parkinson's disease have rigid muscles, sluggish movements, and tremors (shaking). Parkinson's disease is chronic, meaning it is a life-long condition. Parkinson disease is believed to be related to low levels of dopamine in certain parts of the brain, which, for unknown reasons are dying and unable to produce normal levels of dopamine. Dopa is therefore used in the treatment of Parkinson disease. ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution defines the concept of neurotransmitters and discusses other aspects of the concept, such as the effect on the body, implications for diseases, and others. Also discusses the importance of biology for understanding behavior. This solution is 1326 words with links to six online resources.

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