Definitions of our Web Page


acetylcholine
    a neurotransmitter found in the brain, spinal cord, and parts of the peripheral nervous system
adrenaline
    a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to low blood glucose, exercise and stress and causes a breakdown of glycogen to glucose in the liver, encourages the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue, causes vasodilation of the small arteries within muscle and increases cardiac output.
affinity
    an attraction of a molecule to a certain site.  An example is a neurotransmitter has a high affinity for its binding site.
amino acids
    class of molecules which are the building blocks for proteins.  Amino acids are deionized when the pH deviates from 7.0 and binds to other amino acids to synthesize proteins
AMPT
    prevents formation of dopamine
anabolic metabolism
    The production of larger molecule from smaller building blocks.  The process requires the input of energy and results in the synthesis of large molecules.  example: amino acids are anabolicly combined to build a protein
antagonist
    a drug that opposes or inhibits the effects of a particular neurotransmitter
anticonvulsant drugs
    An agent that prevents or relieves convulsions.
anticholinergic drug
    an agent that blocks the parasympathetic nerves
antidepressants
    drugs used to alleviate the symptoms of depression.  This class of drugs are broken down into two classes: Tricyclics, which are potent inhibitors of noradrenaline and/or serotonin; and non tricyclics which work in a variety of waves
antigens
    a molecule that is an invader to the body and evokes the response of the immune system.  They are able to induce the production of antibodies and react in specific manner with antibodies.
ATP
    Adenosine Triphosphate  = The molecule which is responsible for providing most of the energy to the reactions of the cell.  ATP is synthesized from adenosine diphosphate(ADP) and an inorganic phosphate (Pi).  It releases energy when the the molecule is broken down to it synthesis components, ADP and Pi.
autonomic nervous system
    the portion of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s vegetative functions
basal ganglia
    three large subcortical nuclei of the vertebrate brain: the putamen, the caudate nucleus and the globus pallidus.
They participate in the control of movement.   Lesions of the basal ganglia occur in a variety of motor disorders including Parkinson's disease and Huntingdon's chorea.
bipolar disorder
    a serious mood disorder characterized by cyclical periods of mania and depression
breakdown
    the catabolic metabolism of a large molecule to its smaller components.
brain excitability (e.g. electrical amplification of sensory signals)
brain stem
    the lowest part of the brain, which merges with the spinal cord. It consists of the medulla oblongata, midbrain and pons.
catecholamine
    a class of neurotransmitters that includes dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine
CCK
    brain peptide that enhances REM sleep
cerebellum
    area of the brain concerned primarily with somatic motor function, the control of muscle tone and
the maintenance of balance
cerebral cortex
    the outer layer of the brain which is visible during normal viewing.  Responsible for thought processes.
cerebrum
   area of frontal lobe were thought and higher function reside.
circadian rhythms
    the regular recurrence, in cycles of about 24 hours, of biological processes or activities especially known in sleep.  The "rhythm" aspect appears to be in reference of the "biological clock" and on the schedule of light and dark cycles.
CLIP
    brain peptide that enhances REM sleep
cortisol
    a glucocoticoid secreted by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex when it is stimulated by the release of ACTH.  Cortisol then regulates the production of glucose and the body's energy balance.
creatinine
    is produced as a waste product of creatine and is directed entered into the blood stream from the kidneys.  If there is an abnormal increase in creatinine, signifies an unusual decrease in the kidney's glomerular filtration rate (sign of an unhealthy kidney).
delta frequency brain waves
    regular electrical activity of approximately 1-4 Hz recorded from the brain; occurs during the deepest stages of sleep.
depression
    a mental state of depressed mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair and discouragement.
Depression ranges from normal feelings of the blues through dysthymia to major depression.
desensitization
    diminishing response to equivalent amount of substance
dopamine
    a neurotransmitter; a catecholamine
electroconvulsive therapy
Electrically induced convulsions primarily used in the treatment of severe affective disorders and schizophrenia.
electroencephalographic (EEG)
     a diagnostic test which measures the electrical activity of the brain (brain waves) using high sensitive recording
equipment attached to the scalp by fine electrodes.   EEGs are used extensively in measuring the brain activity during
endocrine
    pertaining to internal hormonal secretions
epidermal skin
    the outer layer of the skin which is dead and filled with the protein keratin
frontal cortex
    outer layer of the frontal lobe
frontal lobes
    responsible for higher cognitive thought processes
glucose
     is the chief source of energy for living organisms
hindbrain
    the most frontal of the three major divisions of the brain
hippocampus
    a brain structure in the temporal lobe; constitutes an important part of the limbic system; involved in learning and memory
human growth hormone
    hormone secreted by the pituitary that stimulates bone growth
humoral
    acquired immunity
hyperalgesia
    an increase in pain threshold
hypnogogic
   a symptom of narcolepsy; vivid dreams just before a person falls asleep accompanied by sleep paralysis
hypothalamus
    Location of the brain; involved in regulation of the autonomic nervous system, control of the anterior and posterior pituitary glands, and integration of species-typical behavior
IL-1 beta

immune system
    the body system that protects the body against invading organisms and infections
inhibitors
    restriction of physiological functions or processes
lesion
    involves the removal or destruction of a portion of the brain of a laboratory animal; the functions that can no longer be performed are the ones that the region previously controlled
limbic system
    area of brain (hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, dentate gyrus, and amygdala) important in memory, emotion and autonomic responses.
lymphocyte
    a white blood cell
mania
    an euphoric state opposite of depression
metabolism
    chemical reactions in the body including catabolism and anabolism
metabolite
    an altered substance through metabolic processes
midbrain
    the central of three major divisions of the brain
mitosis
       cell division where the two daughters cells receive same number of chromosomes as the parent cell
muscarinic
    acetylcholine receptor in the postganglionic parasympathetic neurons
neuron
    a nerve cell; consisting of a cell body that contains a nucleus, short branching processes that carry electrical signals, and an axon that conducts nerve impulses away from the cell body
neurotransmitter
    a chemical contained in synaptic vesicles in nerve endings that is release into the synaptic vesicles and stimulates another receptor
nicotinic
    acetylcholine receptor in the autonomic ganglia and the neuromuscular junctions
noradrenaline
    a catecholamine neurohormone that acts in the sympathetic nervous system.
norepinephrine
    a neurotransmitter found in the brain and in the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system
nREM
    sleep stages not occurring during REM sleep
orbitofrontal cortex
    a region in the prefrontal cortex
oxidation
    involves the transfer of electrons or hydrogen atoms from one atom or molecule to another
peribrachial area
    located in the pons where acetylcholinergic activity are involved in REM sleep
positron emission tomography (PET)
    the use of a device that reveals the localization of a radioactive tracer in a living brain; shows activity level of various brain regions
phagocytic T lymphocytes
    lymphocytes produced in the thymus that attack host cells that have been virally infected.  They must actually touch or be close to the cell to effetely kill the infection
pharmacology
    the medical science that deals with the chemical and physiological effects of drugs on the physiological processes in an organism
physiology
    the study of biological function – how the body works
platelet
    A discoid cell (3m diameter) found in large numbers in blood, important for blood coagulation and for
haemostasis by repairing breaches (small breaks) in the walls of blood vessels.
pons
    part of the midbrain
precursor
    a molecule in which a more active molecule is built upon.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder
    severe and debilitating premenstral syndrome
protein
    a class of molecules composed of large polypeptides, in which over a hundred amino acids are bonded together by peptide bonds

psychostimulant
    a drug that stimulants the central nervous system

REM sleep and SWS sleep -
Sleep occurs in several stages over a rest period.  When someone is falling asleep, then enter into the first stage and progress to the fourth (which are referred to as Slow Wave Sleep).  Then they go back through stages 3 and 2 to enter REM sleep, where dreams commonly occur.  The stages will fluctuate throughout the night as the graph represents.
SWS and REM have different wave cycles when measured on an EEG.  SWS sleep usually has slow, infrequent waves of under 10 hz (cycles per second).  As you move from stages 1 to 4, the hz values decrease from approximately 8 hz to 2 hz, respectively. REM waves are above 10 hz and have small wave amplitudes.
 
 

RNA
    a nucleic acid that is important in gene regulation; made within the cell nucleus
Signal Detection Theory
    a psychophysical theory in which the person's bias can effect the accuracy of determining whether a signal was perceived or not
skeletal muscle activity
    movement of the body through the interaction of the bones and muscles of the body
sleep spindle
    short bursts of waves of 12-14 Hz that occur between two and five times a minute during stage 1-4 of sleep
somatomedins
    stimulated by somatotropin when the cell is beginning to divide
stimulus-response training
    learning to make a specific response automatically in the presence of a particular stimulus
synthesis
    the creation or build-up of a molecule from smaller parts
temporal lobe
    area of the brain located on the side below the cerebrum.  Important areas for hearing and reception.
thalamus
    large portion of the diencephalon containing nuclei involving the projection of nerve pathways to the cortex and back down to its site of action
thematic apperception test
    test where the subject is asked to make up a story about a series of pictures.  The themes expressed are thought as significant themes in the subject's life
thermoregulation
    regulation of the body temperature.
theta waves
    EEG activity of 5-8 Hz that occurs during the early stages of REM sleep and slow-wave sleep
turnover
    the rate at which something is being depleted and replaced
tyrosine hydroxylase
    enzyme required to produce dopamine by converting L-tyrosine into L-dopa.  L-dopa in the converted into dopamine by L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase
urea
    a waste product found in the urine; the product of protein metabolism; formed in the liver
VIP
    brain peptide that enhances REM sleep
vestibular
    system within the inner ear use to keep animals awake
visceral
    anything pertaining to the internal cavities
waking seizures threshold
white matter
    brain tissue containing the axons surrounded by myelin sheaths
yoked control
    control subject where their situation is dependent on the actions of the experimantal subjects


 

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