The following course in Neuroscience is provided in its entirety by Atlantic International University's "Open Access Initiative " which strives to make knowledge and education readily available to those seeking advancement regardless of their socio-economic situation, location or other previously limiting factors. The University's Open Courses are free and do not require any purchase or registration, they are open to the public.
The course in Neuroscience contains the following:
The Administrative Staff may be part of a degree program paying up to three college credits. The lessons of the course can be taken on line Through distance learning. The content and access are open to the public according to the "Open Access" and " Open Access " Atlantic International University initiative. Participants who wish to receive credit and / or term certificate , must register as students.
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine and the allied disciplines of philosophy, physics, and psychology. It also exerts influence on other fields, such as neuroeducation and neurolaw. The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system.
The scope of neuroscience has broadened to include different approaches used to study the molecular, cellular, developmental, structural, functional, evolutionary, computational, and medical aspects of the nervous system. The techniques used by neuroscientists have also expanded enormously, from molecular and cellular studies of individual nerve cells to imaging of sensory and motor tasks in the brain. Recent theoretical advances in neuroscience have also been aided by the study of neural networks. Because of the increasing number of scientists who study the nervous system, several prominent neuroscience organizations have been formed to provide a forum to all neuroscientists and educators.
The central nervous system (CNS) is the part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system (PNS), is composed of nerves leading to and from the CNS, often through junctions known as ganglia. The central nervous system is so named because it integrates information it receives from, and coordinates and influences the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterally symmetric animals. Arguably many consider the retina and the optic nerve (2nd cranial nerve), as well as the olfactory nerves (1st) and olfactory epithelium as parts of the CNS, synapsing directly on brain tissue without intermediate ganglia. The CNS is contained within the dorsal cavity, with the brain in the cranial cavity and the spinal cord in the spinal cavity. In vertebrates, the brain is protected by the skull, while the spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae, both enclosed in the meninges. The central nervous system consists of the three major structures, the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The brain is encased in the skull, and protected by the cranium. The spinal cord is continuous with the brain and lies caudaly to the brain, and is protected by the vertebra. The spinal cord reaches from the base of the skull, continues through or starting below the foramen magnum, and terminates roughly level with the first or second lumbar vertebra, occupying the upper sections of the vertebral canal.
Lesson 3: 12 BRAIN RULES
Physical activity is vital to keep your body and mind working in tip-top shape. Retired television exercise guru, Jack La Lanne, is a perfect example. At age 70, he celebrated his birthday by swimming across California’s Long Beach Harbor pulling 70 boats with passengers onboard. His history of exercising and eating well contributed to his perennially quick wit and agile humor. Anthropologists note that the first humans roamed in search of food, covering dozens of miles a day, so their brains evolved to handle regular physical activity. Because human brains were first forged in the furnace of physical activity, if you want to use your entire IQ you must exercise. Inactive couch potatoes lose mental facilities along with physical capabilities. To regain your mental abilities, get aerobic exercise, even if you have neglected yourself. Just walking half an hour a few times a week will boost your cognitive output and reduce your risk of dementia. Children who find concentrating difficult will benefit from physical activity. Exercise makes oxygen flow more efficiently through the blood and into the cells, cleaning up toxic wastes left behind by food metabolism. When you move you’re keeping your brain cells healthy. More than food or water, your brain, which consumes 20% of your body’s energy, requires oxygen to function.
Lesson 4: CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: DISEASES & DISORDERS
To review, the spinal cord transmits sensory reception from the peripheral nervous system. It also conducts motor information to the body's skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles, smooth muscles, and glands. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves along the spinal cord. These nerves each contain both sensory and motor axons. The spinal cord is protected by vertebrae and connects the peripheral nervous system to the brain, and it acts as a minor coordinating center. The brain allows the body to function. The brain is protected by the skull however, if the brain is damaged, the results to the human body can be very consequential. A central nervous system disease can affect either the spinal cord (myelopathy) or brain (encephalopathy), both of which are part of the central nervous system. The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It is made up of two major divisions,
Lesson 5: PERCEPTION, NON-HUMAN SENSES, PYRAMIDAL SYSTEMS
Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sense organs. For example, vision involves light striking the retina of the eye, smell is mediated by odor molecules, and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not the passive receipt of these signals, but is shaped by learning, memory, expectation, and attention. Perception involves these top-down effects as well as the bottom-up process of processing sensory input. The bottom-up processing transforms low level information to higher level information (e.g., extracts shapes for object recognition). The top-down processing refers to a person's concept and expectations (knowledge), and selective mechanisms (attention) that influence perception. Perception depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.
Lesson 6: NEUROLINGUISTICS
Neurolinguistics is the study of how language is represented in the brain. That is, how and where our brains store our knowledge of the language that we speak, understand, read, and write, what happens in our brains as we acquire that knowledge, and what happens as we use it in our everyday lives. Neurolinguists try to answer questions like these: What about our brains makes human language possible? Why is our communication system so elaborate and so different from that of other animals? Does language use the same kind of neural computation as other cognitive systems, such as music or mathematics? Where in your brain is a word that you've learned? How does a word ‘come to mind’ when you need it (and why does it sometimes not come to you)? If you know two languages, how do you switch between them and how do you keep them from interfering with each other? If you learn two languages from birth, how is your brain different from the brain of someone who speaks only one language, and why? Is the left side of your brain really the language side? If you lose the ability to talk or to read because of a stroke or other brain injury, how well can you learn to talk again? What kinds of therapy are known to help, and what new kinds of language therapy look promising?
Lesson 7: NEUROPSYCHOLOGY
Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain as they relate to specific psychological processes and behaviors. It is seen as a clinical and experimental field of psychology that aims to study, assess, understand and treat behaviors directly related to brain functioning. The term neuropsychology has been applied to lesion studies in humans and animals. It has also been applied to efforts to record electrical activity from individual cells in higher primates. It is scientific in its approach, making use of neuroscience, and shares an information processing view of the mind with cognitive psychology and cognitive science. In practice neuropsychologists tend to work in research settings (universities, laboratories or research institutions), clinical settings (involved in assessing or treating patients with neuropsychological problems), forensic settings or industry (often as consultants where neuropsychological knowledge is applied to product design or in the management of pharmaceutical clinical trials research for drugs that might have a potential impact on CNS functioning).
Neuropsychology is a relatively new discipline within the field of psychology. However, the history of its discovery can be traced all the way back to the Third Dynasty in ancient Egypt, perhaps even earlier. There is much debate in regards to when people started seriously looking at the functions of different organs, but it has been determined that for many centuries, the brain was looked upon as a useless organ and was generally discarded during burial processes and autopsies.
Lesson 8: BRANCHES OF NEUROSCIENCE – PART I
Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by neural circuits in the brain. Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, overlapping with disciplines such as physiological psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. Cognitive neuroscience relies upon theories in cognitive science coupled with evidence from neuropsychology and computational modeling. Due to its multidisciplinary nature, cognitive neuroscientists may have various backgrounds. Other than the associated disciplines just mentioned, cognitive neuroscientists may have backgrounds in neurobiology, bioengineering, psychiatry, neurology, physics, computer science, linguistics, philosophy and mathematics. Methods employed in cognitive neuroscience include experimental paradigms from psychophysics and cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, electrophysiology, cognitive genomics and behavioral genetics. Studies of patients with cognitive deficits due to brain lesions constitute an important aspect of cognitive neuroscience. Theoretical approaches include computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology.
Lesson 9: BRANCHES OF NEUROSCIENCE – PART II
Neurolaw is an emerging field of interdisciplinary study that explores the effects of discoveries in neuroscience on legal rules and standards. Drawing from neuroscience, philosophy, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and criminology, neurolaw practitioners seek to address not only the descriptive and predictive issues of how neuroscience is and will be used in the legal system, but also the normative issues of how neuroscience should and should not be used. The most prominent questions that have emerged from this exploration are as follows: To what extent can a tumor or brain injury alleviate criminal punishment?
Can sentencing or rehabilitation regulations be influenced by neuroscience? Who is permitted access to images of a person’s brain? Neuroscience is beginning to address these questions in its effort to understand human behavior, and will potentially shape future aspects of legal processes.
Lesson 10: LOCUS OF CONTROL
In personality psychology, locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them. Understanding of the concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, and has since become an aspect of personality studies. A person's "locus" (Latin for "place" or "location") is conceptualized as either internal (the person believes they can control their life) or external (meaning they believe that their decisions and life are controlled by environmental factors which they cannot influence, or by chance or fate). Individuals with a high internal locus of control believe that events in their life derive primarily from their own actions: for example, when receiving test results, people with an internal locus of control would tend to praise or blame themselves and their abilities, whereas people with an external locus of control would tend to praise or blame an external factor such as the teacher or the test.
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