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Neurotransmitters: Functions and Impact on Behavior

1. Describe neurotransmitters, their function, and impact on behavior.

2. Discuss one neurotransmitter in detail describing the effect it has on our bodies and connection with disease.

3. Discuss the importance of biology for understanding behavior.

Please help me with these questions. Thank you.

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1. Describe neurotransmitters, their function, and impact on behavior.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals whose main function is to relay, amplify and modulate electrical signals between a neuron and another cell. According to the prevailing beliefs of the 1960s, a chemical can be classified as a neurotransmitter if it meets the following conditions:
• It is synthesized endogenously, that is, within the presynaptic neuron;
• It is available in sufficient quantity in the presynaptic neuron to exert an effect on the postsynaptic neuron;
• Externally administered, it must mimic the endogenously-released substance; and
• A biochemical mechanism for inactivation must be present. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotransmitters
The link with behavior is complicated. These chemicals and hormones need to be balance in order for us to think "normally" which impacts how we act. It also relays messages to our muscles to respond in a balanced way, until our chemicals and hormones become imbalanced (implicated in depression). Why are there so many brain neurotransmitters? Because the functions performed by brain neurotransmitters are not as uniform as they might superficially appear. Some (like glutamate) are excitatory, whereas others (like GABA) are primarily inhibitory. In many cases (as with dopamine) it is the receptor, which determines whether the transmitter is excitatory or inhibitory. Receptors can also determine whether a transmitter acts rapidly by direct action on an ion channel (e.g., nicotinic acetylcholine receptors) or slowly, by a second-messenger system that allows for synaptic plasticity (e.g., muscarinic acetylcholine receptors). Speed & mechanism of transmitter inactivation after the signal has been sent is also a factor. There are probably also costs & benefits involved in synthesizing, transporting and recycling various neurotransmitters in the differing chemical mileus of the brain. http://www.benbest.com/science/anatmind/anatmd10.html#intro
See http://www.benbest.com/science/anatmind/anatmd10.html#intro for more detail on function by type of neurotransmitter (amino acids; peptides; monoamines - norepinephrine, dopamine & serotonin plus acetylcholine) [For a well-organized categorization of neurotransmitters, see Neurotransmitter (Wikipedia).]
2. Discuss one neurotransmitter in detail describing the effect it has on our bodies and connection with disease.
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, or ...

Solution Summary

Describes neurotransmitters, their function, and impact on behavior. It also discusses one specific neurotransmitter in detail describing the effect it has on our bodies and the connection with disease. Finally, it discusses the importance of biology for understanding behavior.

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