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MSG and the Brain

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How specifically does MSG affect the brain? Was this substance knowingly used before or after it was found to affect the brain?

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Solution Summary

This solution discusses how glutamate (MSG) affects the brain.

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(1) How specifically does MSG affect the brain?

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) affects the brain through neural activity. MSG is an amino acid -glutamic acid, and is the brain's most significant excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate activates receptors in the membranes and postsynaptic neurons (Kumaravel, Subash, Swarnam, Murugan, Yuvarajan, & Subramanicn, 2012). According to Kumaravel et al., excitatory action may lead to toxic levels due to excessive doses of glutamate. For example, the excitatory amino acid "asparte" and glutamate are the major stimulatory neurotransmitters in the nervous systems of mammals. A concentrated dosage can be toxic. Research has suggested that MSG is safe; however, Kumaravel et al reported a reversible change in the permeability of plasma proteins during convulsions caused by MSG for rodents. The MSG administered to neonatal rates resulted in a degeneration of the retina.

Thus, excitatory action may lead to toxic effects due to excessive accumulation of extracellular ...

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