Showing posts from 2016

Introduction to Neuroanatomy - Part 3 (Brain Structures - Telencephalon and Diencephalon)

Brain Structures and their Functions
To learn more about neuroanatomy, please check out: "Neuroanatomy Text and Atlas," by John H. Martin.

In the last post, we ended explaining the development of the spinal cord. We will continue this discussion by exploring the structures of the brain from a bottom-up perspective and describe their functions. 
Cranial and Non-cranial Nerves If you read the last post (Here is the link:, you should remember that the spinal cord was divided by two plates: basal and alar. When we move up from the spinal cord into the brain we would observe a collection of structures known as the brainstem. In here, the plates become nerves. The alar plate becomes the cranial nerve sensory nuclei and the basal becomes the cranial nerve motor nuclei. Remember that a nerve is a bundle of axons in the central nervous system (CNS) and that nuclei are a collection of cell bodies that are also located in the CNS. Thus, the phrase "c…

Introduction to Neuroanatomy - Part 2 (The Brain and the Spinal Cord)

The Brain and the Spinal Cord
To learn more about neuroanatomy, please check out: "Neuroanatomy Text and Atlas," by John H. Martin.
Glial CellsIn the last cover, we covered primarily neurons, but the glial cells are also very important in the nervous system. Something important to note is that the same parts in the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) have different names. We will see an example of this with a specialized type of glia cell. They outnumber neurons, however, the exact number is still being debated. One textbook affirms that the ratio is ten to one(1), while another one asserts that it is three to one (2). Whether is one or the other, the fact that there is more glial cells remains true. This might suggest that their function is vital for the nervous system. There are two types of glial cells: Microglia and macroglia. The former acts as immune cells because if there is an infection or damage detected in the central nervous system,…

Introduction to Neuroanatomy - Part 1 (The Nervous System)

The brain, the spinal cord, and everything else.
To learn more about neuroanatomy, please check out: "Neuroanatomy Text and Atlas," by John H. Martin.

Neuroanatomy, and psychology in general, can be studied with different perspectives, I will cover some of them in the following bullet points.

Anatomical Perspective: This refers to the structure of body partsCytoarchitectonic Perspective:This refers to the study of the tissue in terms of cellular structure (1).Phylogenetic Perspective: This refers to the comparative study of living organisms in terms of their evolutionary history (2).Functional Perspective: This refers to the point of view that studies a specific body part, in this case, the brain, in terms of functions.Ontogenetic Perspective: This refers to the study of a part of the brain in terms of its development (3).
Using these perspectives, or other ones that are not mentioned here, we can look at the brain in terms of its different organizations. One of them would be a …

Psychoanalysis as a Replacement of Ritalin

Psychoanalysis as a Replacement of Stimulants that are used as Treatment for ADHDThe purpose of this essay is to explore whether stimulant drugs should still be used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) in children. In addition, if the answer to the question made before is no, then what would be the best alternative method of treatment for children with ADD? Before exploring the research regarding the use of stimulants, it is important to describe what ADD is and the drugs used to treat it. The DSM-V defines the disorder as “a repetitive pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development” (DSM-5, 2013). Unlike other disorders, like schizophrenia, which usually starts at early adulthood (schizophrenia, n. d.), ADD or ADHD begins in childhood. Research suggests that some drugs affect children differently compared to adults. For example, a study found that antidepressants double the risk of attempted suicide for children compared t…

Introduction to Psychopharmacology - Part 4 (Action Potentials)

Action Potentials - How Neurons Communicate with each other.  To learn more about psychopharmacology, please check out "Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior," by Jerrold S. Meyer and Linda F. Quenzer.
Now that we have talked about neurons individually, we are going explain how they communicate between each other. We mentioned in the last post that they do it by action potentials. Today we are going into detail of what are these, how they work, and why they work. There are two important features in this process: electric charge and chemicals, specifically sodium, potassium, and calcium. 
What is it?
An action potential is the electricity traveling inside a neuron (remember that our brain works on electricity). It starts at the axon hillock, which is the part located before the axon and after the soma, and ends in the terminal button. When it reaches its end, neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that send messages across neurons (1), are released from the terminal…

Introduction to Psychopharmacology - Part 3 (Neurons)

The Structure and Functions of Cells of the Nervous System

To learn more about psychopharmacology, please check out "Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior," by Jerrold S. Meyer and Linda F. Quenzer.

Before continuing with our discussion about drugs and their effect on behavior we have to talk about the brain. Now, there are two reasons why this discussion is essential. The first one is that the brain is essential in behavior. For example, the mouth is needed to speak, but Broca's area also forms an important part for the production of speech. Moreover, the legs are needed to walk, however, the basal ganglia is necessary for movement. As you can see, the brain is a required component for every behavior and if the part brain is damaged the behavior ceases to exist. Thus, the brain is necessary for behavior. The second reason is that the brain is sufficient for the study of drugs and their effects. We know that behavior, or people in general, are a complex result…

Introduction to Psychopharmacology - Part 2 (How are Drugs Processed?)

The Processing of DrugsDrug action does not only depend on the chemical structure of a drug but also on factors like the rate in which it can be absorbed by the body; this factor is known as bioavailability (1). There are five factors that contribute to bioavailability that constitute the pharmacokinetic elements of drug action (2). Pharmacokinetics is the study of how drugs are absorbed, dispersed, processed, and eliminated from the body (3). The five factors are:
1. Routes of administration.
This is the way in which drugs enter the body. There are two major divisions in which a drug can be administered: Enteral, which refers to passing thorugh the intestine or gastrointestinal tract (4), and parentenal, which is all the methods in which the drug do not passes through the gastrointestinal tract (5). We will cover five methods of administration.

The first one is by means of injection. We will cover several types of injections, the first one being intravenous (IV) injection. This one goes…