Glossary

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A

A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of neuronal signals.

A special electrical impulse that neurons produce to carry "messages" to other neurons.

A liquid synthesized or fermented from sugars and starches. It is used in a wide variety of applications, including liquor. Also called ethanol, ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol.

The associative cortex is brain tissue that connects primary cortex and allows complex activity.

The portion of the peripheral nervous system involved in the regulating of involuntary activity (e.g., cardiac muscle, smooth muscles).
 

A nerve fiber that transmits signals away from the cell body of the neuron. 

B

The brainstem controls vital functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, and the movement of the eyes, face, and throat. Hearing, taste, and sensation above the neck are managed in the brainstem.

C

An alkaloid that can be derived from tea or coffee for use in medicine. It is used mainly as a stimulant and to treat certain types of headaches.
The cerebellum is a region of the brain that is vital to coordination and the body's ability to understand its own position and posture.
An alkaloid extracted from leaves of the coca plant. It is sometimes used in medicine as a local anesthetic and is widely used as an illicit drug.
Connects the two hemispheres of your brain and allows for communication between both hemispheres.
Composed of gray matter on the outermost portion of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres: right and left. Both hemispheres are involved in thinking, learning, and speaking activities.

D

Small extensions at the end of a neuron's axon.
The period of time when the heart relaxes and fills with blood, after systole (contraction)
A neurotransmitter found in the brain that is important in the normal functions of the central nervous system.

E

The body's internal system of chemical communication.
A hormone involved in the "fight-or-flight" response.
The female sex hormone responsible for primary and secondary sex characteristics.
Refers to a neural stimulation that adds to the likelihood of neurotransmitter release.
Related to or produced by an exocrine gland (such as a sweat gland).

G

One type of tissue in the brain, associated with processing and cognition

H

The maintenance of a person's stable internal conditions.
The hypothalamus controls functions of thirst and food drives, temperature control, and reproductive drives.

I

Refers to a neural stimulation that reduces the likelihood of neurotransmitter release.

L

Regulates emotions (e.g. fear, anger, happiness, sadness), and is also involved in certain memory functions.

M

A preparation made from the cannabis plant, usually eaten or smoked for medicinal or illicit purposes.
A portion of the vertebrate hindbrain responsible for controlling vital autonomic functions.
Of, relating to, or resulting from metabolism.  
Located near the center of the brain, the midbrain is part of the brainstem, and is associated with hearing, vision, and eye movement.
The area of the cerebral cortex that is heavily involved in controlling voluntary muscle movements.

N

A nerve cell, which is an impulse-conducting cell of the brain, spinal cord and nerves, with the unique function of connecting itself with many other nerve cells. Neurons also connect to muscle cells to make them move. Specialized neurons can function to receive information in the form of touch...

Chemicals that are released by one neuron that may or may not cause the next neuron to be more likely to fire or less likely to fire.

O

The occipital lobe of the brain helps you to see different shapes and colors. If it is damaged, you can lose your eyesight.
Of, relating to, or contributing to the sense of smell.
A class of drugs, including codeine and morphine, that relieves pain by binding to several types of opioid receptors in the nervous system.

P

The parietal lobe of the brain helps you recognize things like shapes and the spatial locations of objects and assists the sense of touch.
A portion of the brain stem involved in control of the autonomic functions.
A tract of the spinal cord that transmits information about joint position.
Areas of the cerebral cortex that comprise the motor and sensory regions.
A hormone secreted by the corpus luteum after ovulation.  
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the production of milk.
The ability to sense the location, movement, orientation, and position of one's body and its parts.

R

The act or process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing.  
A part of the brainstem that is heavily involved in body posture, alertness, and reflexes.

S

A naturally occurring derivative of the amino acid trytophan that is found in platelets, brain cells, and the gastrointestinal tract. It acts as a potent vasoconstrictor and as a neurotransmitter.
The spinal cord is the cord of nerves that decends from the midbran through the spinal column, branching to nerves that convey motor and sensory impulses between the body and brain.
The space between the dendrites of one neuron and the soma, or body, of another neuron.
The period of time when the heart's ventricles contract.

T

The temporal lobe of the brain helps you organize sensory input, read, and remember. It also allows you to hear and interpret sounds and words.
The male sex hormone responsible for primary and secondary sex characteristics.
The thalamus serves as a switching center from the spinal cord to the regions of the cerebral cortex.

U

One type of tissue of the central nervous system having a whitish color, that transmits signals between parts of the brain