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BIO304: Human Physiology

Unit 5: The Nervous System   The nervous system allows us to think and act. Typing on your keyboard happens because of signals between the brain and the neurons and muscles in your hand. Are you focusing on the difficult concepts in this course and trying to remember all that you have learned thus far? It is the nervous system that makes it all possible! Neurons signal from the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the muscles, glands, and other neurons found outside the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nervous system). In this unit, we will study how the central and peripheral nervous system work together to coordinate our complicated activities and respond to environmental stimuli. You will also learn how the body reacts during emergencies or what the body perceives as emergencies in fight-or-flight reactions and the outcome of the activities involved with the autonomic nervous system, such as digestion, sleep states, and even reproduction. 

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 13 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 6 hours
 

☐    Subunit 5.3.1: 3.25 hours

☐    Subbunit 5.3.2: 2.75 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - describe how an action potential is produced; - describe the function of a synapse; - define and name major neurotransmitters; - describe the location of neurotransmitters in presynaptic neurons, their release into the synapse, and the binding receptors on postsynaptic neurons; - identify the divisions of the nervous system (central and peripheral); - explain the structure and function of the brain and the spinal cord within central nervous system; - identify the divisions and subdivisions of the peripheral nervous system; and - describe the autonomic nervous system and distinguish between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

5.1 Structural Unit of the Nervous System   - Reading: Wikibooks’ Human Physiology: “The Nervous System” Link: Wikibooks’ Human Physiology: “The Nervous System” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link above and read this entire webpage
about the nervous system. This text does a great job covering
neurons and supporting cells and their activities in the brain and
spinal cord and throughout the body. The following subunits will
focus on various aspects of this reading assignment. You may also
want to refer back to the “Anatomy of a Neuron” video that you
watched in subunit 4.2.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 3 hours and 15
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 Neuronal Signaling   5.2.1 The Action Potential   - Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Sodium-Potassium Pump”, “Electronic and Action Potentials”, and “Saltatory Conduction in Neurons” Link: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Sodium-Potassium Pump”, “Electronic and Action Potentials”, and “Saltatory Conduction in Neurons” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Now that you have a good understanding about the
neuron and how it works, let’s take it one step further and delve
into the physiology of this cell. Watch these three videos to learn
about how the neuron signals with ionic channels in a signaling
event known as the action potential. These three videos are in-depth
tutorials about the physiological processes underlying neuronal
signaling.  

 Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: These videos are licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Non Commercial - No Derives United States License
3.0](). They are attributed to the Khan Academy. 

5.2.2 The Synapse   - Web Media: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Neuronal Synapses” and YouTube: Great Pacific Media’s “The Synapse” Link: YouTube: Khan Academy’s “Neuronal Synapses” (YouTube) and YouTube: Great Pacific Media’s “The Synapse” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch these two videos to learn how action potential
signals travel from one neuron to the next. This signaling process
is necessary to signal between neurons and as you will learn later
and is also found when neurons signal to muscles and glands in an
excitatory manner.  

 Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: These videos are licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerives United States License 3.0]().
They are attributed to the Khan Academy. 
  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Multiple Choice 1”, “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Multiple Choice 2”, and “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Fill in the Blanks” Link: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Multiple Choice 1”, “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Multiple Choice 2”, and “Neurons and Synapses Quiz: Fill in the Blanks” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the links above and complete these quizzes after working through subunits 5.1 and 5.2. These quizzes include quite a few questions designed to review what you have learned. Click on “Submit Answers” to check your responses. These quizzes should be used as a tool to ensure that you have a good grasp of the material before you move forward with the unit.

    Completing these assessments should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Neurotransmitters   - Reading: Wikibooks’ Cellular Neurobiology: “Neurotransmitter” Link: Wikibooks’ Cellular Neurobiology: “Neurotransmitter” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link above and read the entire webpage
to learn about the different types of neurotransmitters and their
functions.  

 Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Structure of the Nervous System   5.3.1 Central Nervous System   5.3.1.1 The Brain: Structure and Higher Mental Functions   Note: This subunit includes a discussion of memory and learning and, in particular, the physiological process of Long Term Potentiation (LTP), an important factor in forming memories. The subunit also discusses the elements of electroencephalography used to measure the brain’s electrical activity. You will also learn about automatic reflexes that keep you safe from harm and help maintain homeostasis.

  • Web Media: YouTube: National Institute of Mental Health’s “The Brain’s Inner Workings Part I: Structure and Function” and “The Brain’s Inner Workings Part II: Cognition” Link: YouTube: National Institute of Mental Health’s “The Brain’s Inner Workings Part I: Structure and Function” (YouTube) and “The Brain’s Inner Workings Part II: Cognition” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Click on the links above and watch both videos. Part I does an excellent job of reviewing synapses and gives a glimpse into the brain’s physiology. Part II discusses brain imaging studies and shows some of the differences between a normal brain and one suffering from mental disease. Although mental disease is still poorly understood, imaging studies help scientists to identify the differences that are found with these disorders. From this video, you should also begin to understand why it is so important to recognize what is normal in physiology in order to later understand what is considered abnormal.

    Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Wikibooks’Introduction to Psychology: “States of Consciousness” Link: Wikibooks’ Introduction to Psychology: “States of Consciousness” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the link above and read the entire webpage to learn about different types of brain waves, stages of sleep, and their measurements by electroencephalogram (EEG).

    Reading this webpage should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.1.2 The Spinal Cord: Structure and Spinal Reflexes   - Web Media: YouTube: Gene Ed’s “Spinal Cord Anatomy and Innervation” and Dr. Stephen Sullivan’s “Spinal Reflexes” and “Flexor Reflex” Link: YouTube: Gene Ed’s “Spinal Cord Anatomy and Innervation” (YouTube) and Dr. Stephen Sullivan’s “Spinal Reflexes” (YouTube) and “Flexor Reflex” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Click on the links above, and watch these three brief
YouTube videos for a visual summary of the spinal cord’s function
and the reflexes within the nervous system. You will notice in the
Gene Ed video how neurons enter and exit the spinal cord through the
dorsal and ventral sections, respectively. Recall your basic
terminology. Dorsal (like the dorsal fin on a dolphin) is towards
the back, whereas ventral faces the front. This terminology carries
over into Dr. Sullivan’s discussion of reflexes and reflex arcs.
Notice how information is routed from the receptor through the
sensory neuron to the spinal cord and then back out through the
motor neuron to the effector. If one synapse is involved, this is
monosynaptic (mono means one), and if more than one is involved,
this is polysynaptic (poly means many). If you have difficulty
remembering these general terms, it may be beneficial to go back to
the [Unit 1 in BIO 302 Human
Anatomy](http://www.saylor.org/courses/bio302/) and review them. The
third video gives one example of a common reflex arc – the flexor
arc – that protects you from pain. You have used this reflex arc if
you ever put your hand on a hot stove.  

 Watching these videos and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Assessment: McGraw Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 2”, “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Fill in the Blanks”, and “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Critical Thinking Exercises” Link: McGraw Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 2” (HTML), “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Fill in the Blanks” (HTML), and “The Central Nervous System Quiz: Critical Thinking Exercises” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the links above and complete these quizzes to demonstrate your understanding of the physiology of the central nervous system. Click on “Submit Answers” to check your responses against the answer key. Even though these quizzes are not officially graded, these assessments are good practice for the final exam.

    Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Wikibooks’ Anatomy and Physiology of Animal/Nervous System: “The Spinal Cord” Link: Wikibooks’ Anatomy and Physiology of Animal/Nervous System: “The Spinal Cord” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the section titled “The Spinal Cord” to learn about the structure of the spinal cord.

    Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.2 Peripheral Nervous System   The peripheral nervous system (PNS) included all of the neurons and supporting nervous system cells found outside of the central nervous system (CNS, brain and spinal cord). The PNS is divided into two divisions: sensory and motor. The sensory division has receptors that detect changes and send this information to the CNS for processing. The motor division carries information from the CNS back out to the PNS. The motor division is further divided into the somatic division, which signals to voluntary skeletal muscles, and the autonomic division, which controls involuntary activities such cardiac and smooth muscle contraction and glandular secretion. The autonomic nervous system is divided even further into the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions.

  • Reading: Wikibooks’ Structural Biochemistry: “The Peripheral Nervous System” Link: Wikibooks’ Structural Biochemistry: “The Peripheral Nervous System” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the link above, scroll down to the section on “Central Nervous System,” and read only the brief subsection titled “The Peripheral Nervous System” to learn about the division of the peripheral nervous system.

    Reading this section should take approximately 5 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.2.1 Sensory Division of Peripheral Nervous System   Note: The sensory division of the peripheral nervous system carries signals from the body’s cells to the central nervous system (CNS) for processing. Receptors on the neuron dendrites respond to stimuli and send this information the cell body (soma) using graded potentials. Once the cell body reaches threshold an action potential is generated and the signal is carried to the CNS.

5.3.2.2 Motor Division of Peripheral Nervous System   The motor division of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) carries signals from the central nervous system (CNS) back out the body’s cell in the peripheral nervous system. The PNS is divided into the somatic division, which signals to voluntary skeletal muscle and the autonomic division, which signals to involuntary smooth and cardiac muscle and glands.

  • Reading: YouTube: ThePenguinProf’s “Autonomic Nervous System” Link: YouTube: ThePenguinProf’s “Autonomic Nervous System” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch the YouTube video for a look at the peripheral nervous system. The video does a great job contrasting the somatic and autonomic divisions of the peripheral nervous system. There is also a discussion of the differences between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system divisions of the autonomic division. Remember the PNS is made up of the sensory and motor divisions. The motor division is further divided into the somatic and autonomic divisions. The autonomic division is even further divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. Make sense? Make sure that you have a good grasp of this material and make a chart, if necessary.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: McGraw Hill Online Learning Center: Seeley, Stephens, & Tate’s “The Autonomic Nervous System: Labeling Exercises” Link: McGraw Hill Online Learning Center: Seeley, Stephens, & Tate’s “The Autonomic Nervous System: Labeling Exercises” (HTML)

    Instructions: Complete all five of the labeling exercises to learn and review some basic concepts related to the physiology of the autonomic nervous system.

    Completing these exercises should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 1”, “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 2”, and “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Critical Thinking Exercises” Link: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Stuart Ira Fox’s “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 1” (HTML), “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Multiple Choice 2” (HTML), and “The Autonomic Nervous System Quiz: Critical Thinking Exercises” (HTML)

    Instructions: Click on the links above and complete the quizzes to demonstrate your understanding of the physiology of the autonomic nervous system. Click on “Submit Answers” to check your responses against the answer key.

    Completing these assessments should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.