If neurons were not present in the body, our nervous system would not be able to receive impulses from other parts of the body. Hence, we would not be able to function. There are billions of neurons in the nervous and it quite interesting the way they convey information.
In order to understand how neurons convey information, it is important to understand the structure of a neuron. There 3 kinds of neurons in the body, namely sensory, motor and inter neurons. Each kind has its own function to perform, such as a sensory neuron helps up feel things like light, sound and heat; a motor neuron is responsible for movement of muscles and working of glands; while an inter neuron is responsible for transmission of information between all other neurons.
A neuron comprises of a cell body, which has a nucleus. The nucleus has the genetic material, which is responsible for determining the type of neuron it becomes. The remaining part of the neuron is used for transmitting information. A neuron gets impulses from other neurons at sites known as dendrites; whereas impulses are sent using axons. Several axons are covered by a myelin sheath, which helps to form a protective insulation around them.
As mentioned previously, impulses are received by dendrites and then sent to the axons using an electrical signal, which is referred to as action potential. When the neurons are situated close to once another, the electrical impulse can jump almost immediately between neurons. While some of the information is conveyed using electrical impulses, most of it actually sent chemically. The neurons are not connected physically, but the axon of one neuron is connected to the dendrite of another neuron using a synapse. The synapse is a small space between the neurons and chemical messengers work to transfer information. These messengers are called neurotransmitters. In the brain, one neuron can have synaptic connections with thousands of neurons simultaneously and that is why researchers are finding it so difficult to understand the complex working of the nervous system.
Neurotransmitters are bio-chemicals; and till now researchers have been able to find over hundred such bio-chemicals. Some neurotransmitters help to stimulate adjacent neurons, while others are used for inhibition. If there is a shortage of a particular neurotransmitter in the brain, it can adversely affect a person's emotions, thinking process and other sensations. It is this fact that doctors use to help people. For instance, depressant drugs are used to slow down the working of the brain, while stimulant medications are used to hasten the working of the brain.
Now that you have an understanding of how neurons convey information, you will be able to appreciate the complex working of the brain and nervous system. This carrying of information occurs in milliseconds and that is truly marvelous and fascinating.
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