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Any and all behaviors originate in the nervous system. If you are reacting to a mosquito biting your arm, sensory receptors in your skin detect the insect in a specific place on your arm. They send that information to the brain using a combination of electrical and chemical signals. Your brain receives that information and reacts to it, generating a motor response. This plan is transmitted back to the muscles of the arm, again using a combination of electrical and chemical signals. Likewise, any other behavior—from a memory of your childhood to the emotional reaction to a movie to the decisions about what to have for dinner tonight—is controlled by electrical and chemical messages exchanged by neurons in your nervous system.
Damage to the nervous system will affect its behavior. If a person has a stroke in the motor cortex, there will be impairments in his or her ability to move part of their body. In some cases of a traumatic brain injury, a person’s brain collides with the inside of the skull. This may tear neurons and cause swelling, which will change how the brain functions in both the short term and the long term. An injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis. While the brain is exceptionally complicated, researchers are starting to identify ways to minimize or reverse such damage to the nervous system, such as the use of brain-machine interfaces.
In this Assignment, you will consider both the normal electrical and chemical signaling that occurs in the brain and damage that can affect the nervous system. In the first half of your Assignment, you will describe in detail how the neurons of the brain use electrical and chemical signals to collect and transmit information. Then, in the second half, you will be assigned a topic based on the first letter of your last name. You will find a recent research article (published within the past 3 years) that addresses the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, recovery of function following injury, or a new treatment for your assigned topic. You will summarize your article describing what the researchers did and relating their work back to what you have learned about the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system from the course textbook.
To prepare for this Assignment:
Last name A–G: Stroke
Last name H–M: Traumatic brain injury
Last name N–S: Brain machine interface to address trauma or loss of function
Last name T–Z: Spinal cord trauma
The Assignment (3–4 pages):
Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You should include in-text citations in the body of your Assignment as well as complete references in APA format at the end of your Assignment.
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