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Glossary


Acetylcholine - the most abundant neurotransmitter in the body and the primary neurotransmitter between neurons and muscles. The stomach, spleen, bladder, liver, sweat glands, blood vessels, and heart are just some of the organs that this neurotransmitter controls. The body's synthesis of acetylcholine is vital because of the neurotransmitters role in motor behavior and memory. Low levels of acetylcholine can contribute to lack of concentration and forgetfulness and may cause light sleep. The body synthesizes acetylcholine from the nutrients choline, lecithin, and DMAE, and ancillary nutrient cofactors, such as vitamins C, B1, B5, and B6, along with the minerals zinc and calcium. Acetylcholine helps control muscle tone, learning, and primitive drives and emotions. It also controls the release of pituitary hormone vasopressin, which is involved in learning and in the regulation of urine output.

Adrenaline - British designation for epinephrine.

Axon - 1. A process of a neuron that conducts impulses away from the cell body. 2. A nerve cell process that resembles an axon in structure, specifically the peripheral process of a dorsal root ganglion cell (sensory neuron) that functionally and embryologically is a dendrite, but structurally is indistinguishable from an axon.

Cortex - The external layer of various organs esp. the gray matter covering the brain.

DMT - dimethyltryptamine

DNA - deoxyribonucleic acid

Dendrite - A branched protoplasmic process of a neuron that conducts impulses to the cell body. There are usually several to a cell. They form synaptic connections with other neurons.

Dopamine - an inhibitor dampening activity so we stay rooted. Travels along pathways into the brain. Plays different roles: Dopamine in the basil ganglia (in brains interior) show they are critical for executing smooth and controlled movements. Lack of dopamine is a cause of parkinson disease which a person looses the ability to initiate controlled movements. Dopamine moves into frontal lobe regulating flow of information coming in from other areas of the brain. Compromise in the flow of dopamine may cause disrupted or incoherent thought as in schizophrenia.In milder disorders, too much dopamine in the limbic system and not enough in the cortex may produce an overly suspicious personality giving to bouts of paranoia or may inhibit social interaction. A shortage of Dopamine in the frontal lobes may contribute to poor working memory. Dopamine is also thought to produce feelings of bliss (the pleasure chemical). More dopamine into the frontal lobe lessens pain and increases pleasure.

BRAIN FACTS


Endorphins - mediate pain at receptor sites. In an injury receptors in skin make electrical signals that goes up the spinal cord to the brain. The brain then evaluates pain by releasing pain killers called endorphins which bind at opiate receptor sites of neurons to mediate pain. Endorphins effect the dopamine pathway that feeds into the frontal lobe. These pathways inhibit the flow of dopamine. Vast quantities of endorphins are released and nerves are shut off so more dopamine flows through pathway to get to frontal lobe therefore replacing pain with pleasure.

LSD - lysergic acid diethylamide

Limbic system - a group of brain structures, including the hippocampus, amygdala, dentate gyrus, cingulate gyrus, gyrus fornicatus, the archicortex, and their interconnections and connections with the hypothalamus, septal area, and a medial area of the mesencephalic tegmentum. The system is activated by motivated behavior and arousal, and it influences the endocrine and autonomic motor systems.

Neurons - the fundamental cellular unit of the nervous system, consisting of a nucleus with all its processes and extensions. Neurons function in initiation and conduction of impulses. In addition, the brain cells influence cells by secreting neurotransmitters that function to alter the affected cell by actually physically contacting it. Alternatively, a neuron may release neurohormones into the bloodstream.

Neurotransmitters - substance that is released when the axon terminal of a presynaptic neuron is excited. The substance then travels across the synapse to act on the target cell to either inhibit or excite it. Disorders in the brain physiology of neurotransmitters have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of psychiatric illnesses.

Norepinephrine - a hormone produced by the adrenal medulla, similar in chemical and pharmacological properties to epinephrine (also a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system). Norephinephrine and epinephrine are the two active hormones that cause some of the physiological expressions of fear and anxiety and have been found to be in excess in some anxiety disorders when a disturbance in their metabolism occurs.

BRAIN FACTS


Oxytocin - Oxytocin is a pituitary hormone that stimulates muscle contraction and sensitizes nerves. Dopamine stimulates the production of oxytocin. Fewer oxytocin receptors create less attachment in relationships.

Phenylethalimine - chemical which plays a critical role in the limbic system known to give a feeling of bliss. It is a natural ingredient in chocolate.

Prozac - fluoxetine hydrochloride, an anti-depressant that boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter.

Receptor - the terminal structure of a neuron, specialized to receive stimuli and transmit them to the spinal cord and brain.

Sensory Deprevation - Serotonin system is effected through means of fasting and other related activities. The levels of serotonin in the thalamus are shifted causing the thalamus to loose some of its ability to control the flow of information coming in from the senses.

Serotonin - a chemical, 5-hydrozytryptamine (5-HT), present in blood platelets, the gastrointestinal tract, and certain regions of the brain. It plays an important role in blood clotting, stimulating a strong heart beat, initiating sleep, fighting depression (prescription drugs that treat depression raise the brain's levels of serotonin) and causing migraine headaches in susceptible individuals (because of its ability to constrict blood vessels or cause them to spasm). Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid L-tryptophan. Serotonin (and, therefore, L-tyrptophan) also serves as a precursor for the pineal hormone melatonin, which regulates the body's clock.

Substance P - An 11-amino acid peptide that is believed to be important as a neurotransmitter in the pain fiber system. This substance may also be important in eliciting local tissue reactions resembling inflammation.

Synapse - The point of junction between two neurons in a neural pathway, where the termination of the axon of one neuron comes into close proximity with the cell body or dendrites of another. At this point, where the relationship of the two neurons is one of contact only, the impulse traveling in the first neuron initiates an impulse in the second neuron. Synapses are polarized, i.e., the impulses pass in one direction only. They are susceptible to fatigue, offer a resistance to the passage of impulses, and are markedly susceptible to the effects of oxygen deficiency, anesthetics, and other agents, including therapeutic drugs and toxic chemicals.

Thalamus - A large ovoid mass of gray matter at the base of the brain, the chief center for transmission of sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex.

BRAIN FACTS