This drawing is meant to be an abstract representation of how the central nervous system is affected by alcohol and more specifically how it affects neurotransmission and the continuation of an electrical signal between neurons. The silhouette in the center is meant to show the person affected and the colored images/heads of other people around him are meant to show the decreased awareness and accuracy of perception you have as a result of consuming alcohol. There is an arrow that points to the brain and then an even more zoomed in image that shows two neurons and how alcohol binds to GABAa receptors to increase GABA function (one of the many ways alcohol affects neurotransmission). I used a mix of watercolors, markers, pens, and colored pencils to make the piece.

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  1. This project explored the effect alcohol has on neurotransmission, how neurons carry an electrical charge, and the two specific neurotransmitters that cause the body to experience symptoms listed in the essay (slurred speech, loss of balance, decreased attention, altered memory, mood changes, and drowsiness) which are the GABA and glutamate receptors. The way the brain would normally function is that your neurotransmitters would have an equal amount of ions in the receptors but when alcohol interacts with GABA and glutamate receptors by keeping the GABA receptors open for more chloride which in turn allows more negatively charged ions in while restricting the number of positive ions into the glutamate receptors. And when I looked into the topic myself, long-term consumption of alcohol can result in an imbalance between the neurotransmitters and thus result in alcoholism because the brain is trying to balance out the amount of positive and negative ions because of alcohol consumption. I like the water coloring of this project which emphasizes the balance that is required between the Inhibitory neurons and Excitation neurons ( excitatory neurons would transmit messages to other neurons in the brain and inhibitory neurons would suppress the messages to prevent over firing of the brain) that is required for the brain to function normally and an example through a drawing of what is happening when you drink alcohol. The watercolor painting also has a drawing of what alcohol does to the receptors for those visual learners like myself out there. Good stuff.

    Nicholas Austin

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