The Brain: A Very Short Introduction

Michael O'Shea, Oxford University Press 2005
  1. Thinking about the brain
  2. From humours to cells: components of mind
  3. Signalling in the brain: getting connected
  4. From the Big Band to the big brain
  5. Sensing, perceiving, and acting
  6. Memories are made of this
  7. Broken brain: invention and intervention
  8. Epilogue
Notable people: Hippocrates,, Pythagoras, Alcmaeon of Croton, Galenus of Pergamum, Leonardo da Vinci, Rene Descartes, Englishman Thomas Willis, Luigi Galvani, Alessandro Volta, German physiologist Du Bois-Reymond, Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Camillo Golgi,

Sensory receptor neurons - feed info via sensory nerves to the nervous system in real time about the internal and external state of the body and environment
Endocrine glands - release hormones into the bloodstream which inform the brain about the state of bodily functions, to which the brain sends hormonal instructions via the blood to other body part.
Brain - highly evolved biological entity of organic molecules, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, with a few elements, and lots of salty water.
Sensory transduction - converting energy in sensory stimulus into electrical signals.
Morphology - biological branch studying living organisms and the relationship of their structure.

Brain is an organ of 1.2 kg with one hundred billion nerve cells communicating to each other via a hundred trillion interconnections.
Neuroscience is far from the theoretical upper limits of the understanding the brain.
The brain is not an independent agent, but is part of the entire system throughout your body controlled by the nervous system.
Blood vessels account for 20 % of the brain's volume, supplying oxygen and glucose via the blood supply communicating from brain to body and back.
The brain is shorthand for all interdependent interactive processes of a complex dynamical system.
Computer operations are medium independent(need not use electronics, but trade off speed, convenience, size) to compute.
The act of reading is an involved one physically and mentally, coordinating physical movements called saccades, focusing and unfocusing the eye, symbolic representation, recognition, etc.
Light sensitive cells(photoreceptors) capture light focused as two slightly different images on both the left and right retinae.
Electrical signals are transmitted through the nervous system to the brain, which the brain interprets.
Photoreceptor cells send the signal to retinal neurons via neurotransmitters, which combine/suppress with surrounding neurons; a transformation of electrical to chemical signal occur at the chemical synapses, there are also electrical synapses. Thus it's the combination those signal which is sent by the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal Ganglion cells axons transmit the electrical impulse to the first neurons in the brain via the synapse, which interconnect with other neurons.
Reading is a long term memory skill, using short term to make sense of the passage. Learning via reading causes a physical changes in brain chemistry and structure.
Neurosciences believe that there is no one to one with perception and a single neuron response, partly because there is a temporal aspect.
Neurons are hugely divers in morphology.
Signalling in the nervous system must be routed correctly and sent reliably over long distances as fast as possible.
Electrical pluses call action potentials/nerve impulses travel(max speed 120 meters/s) from the neuron along the axon to the synaptic clef. At the end of the electrical signal, a chemical signal/neurotransmitter is released from the clef which travels across the synapse to the dendrite of the other neuron, binding and activating receptor molecules.

Chapter 2 signalling the brain