Last week I continued my lectures on “Synapses, Neurons and Brains” from Coursera.org. Lesson number three discussed the “Electrifying Brains – Passive Electrical Signals” and how the cells can be viewed as a RC Circuit that allow current to flow from axons to dendrites through a synapse gap.
This lesson was very interesting because it explained in a simple way the equations for the voltage on passive cells, the membrane time constant, temporal summation, resting potential, and the two types of synapses in the brain: the “excitatory” and “inhibitory”, which leads to Excitatory Post-Synaptic Potentials (EPSPs) or Inhibitory Post-Synaptic Potentials (IPSPs) at the post-synaptic part of the synaptic gap.
This lesson was also a bit more technical since it introduced equations for RC circuits based on the resistance, capacitance, Ohms law and Kirchoff’s law.
Some of the questions I had after the lesson was about the elements in the pre-synaptic part, the neurotransmitters. What are they made of? I went to look up them in the Wikipedia and I got an idea; but eventually, I will dive deeper into it. Som questions for the readers:
- Can the neurotransmitters be part of what gives us intelligence?
- Can we eat potassium or sodium-based meals and increase their levels at the synapses’ gaps? Would that actually influence our intelligence?
- What is intelligence, actually?
I’ve asked in the previous post something related but I’ll elaborate: could it be possible that our intelligence is based on the time that an electrical signal takes to run a predefined circuit within our brain? And when said signal closes the loop, we acquired knowledge or remembered something?
Next lecture is about “Electrifying Brains – Active Electrical Spikes”. I hope I can get more interesting questions, because I will find the answers eventually.