The Neuron

Lesson 1

The neuron is the building block of the nervous system. It receives hundreds of thousands of chemical and electrical stimulations at any given moment. Some of these are excitatory and some are inhibitory.

This single cell will sum up this huge number of impulses and will either commit to pass a signal to the next neuron or not. This signal is known as the action potential and will travel down the neuron through its axon to end at the axonal terminal. At the terminal, the neuron will release a neurotransmitter which crosses the synapse to interact with the dendrites or cell body of the next neuron.

What lesson can we learn from the anatomy and physiology of this single neuron? It is that at any given moment, we as individuals are being bombarded by multiple forms of stimulation from the external and our internal environment. We must sum up these impulses and provide some form of action. The actions we take constitute our personality, behavior and social interactions

The question is, "Are we simply the sum of our impulses or can we moderate our action potential?"