The objective I’m covering is how neurons carry electrical charge. I am using Pado trees to represent neurons. Pado trees stretch for miles. A certain area of the forest could be rained on, while others could have sunny weather. However, due to the interconnected roots under the ground, water is passed from tree to tree. The water is passed for miles to get from one tree to another in order for the forest to be kept alive. (Hennings and Lynch, 2020) The other part of my poster shows a normal brain and a brain with Multiple Sclerosis. Seen on the Multiple Sclerosis brain are white lesions formed from the death of nerve cells which will be further explained throughout the essay. (Weiler, 2019)
The subject I’m covering is Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, is a chronic disease. This disease occurs when the communication between the brain and body is disrupted as the myelin is damaged. The myelin is the protective layer that insulates the wire-like nerve fibers. Scientists as of now still can’t quite figure out what the cause of this disease is. Some believe that MS is due to the immune system attacking the myelin sheathing and the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and the brain. (McNamara, 2015) The brain and the spinal cord are the central nervous system. However, the symptoms of MS are prominent. MS typically causes inflammation, numbness, memory problems, pain, blindness, and paralysis. Although the symptoms and whether the memory loss is temporary or permanent usually differs depending on the patient. MS symptoms are unpredictable and will vary. (Hughes and Macaron, 2021)
MS is connected to the objective of how neurons carry electrical charge. It’s important to know that as the myelin and nerve cell processes are destroyed due to MS. Inflammation usually is the leading cause of the damage. This is when a certain part of the body swells up and causes damage to the myelin. This can alter the electrical charge carried by the neurons to the brain. Neurons are nerve cells that can communicate with the spinal cord and the brain via chemical and electrical signals. (Lovinger, 1997) There are three main parts of a neuron. These are the axon, the dendrites, and the cell body. Axons are extensive, thin fibers that would transfer nerve impulses to other nerve cells. Dendrites are narrow fibers that reach out from the cell in branched tendrils in order to obtain the information from other neurons in the body. The cell body is responsible for carrying out most of the basic cellular function of a neuron and is what stores the DNA in the nucleus. The DNA is the body’s genetic information. The cell body also contains the chemical machinery which is responsible for producing neurotransmitters. (Lovinger, 1997)
The communication between neurons are generally transmitted by neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are a type of chemical that is sent in the tiny space in between the dendrites and axons. This minute space would be called the synapse. (Zawada and Campanella, 2022) There are many types of neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters make neurons more active as they stimulate them. Other types of neurotransmitters inhibit them which causes the neurons to be less active.
The signals transmitted by neurons would travel long distances throughout the body. With MS and the inflammation that occurs, the neurons are damaged and demyelination would occur. Demyelination is a condition that would cause damage to the myelin sheath. As the immune system causes damage within the central nervous system, some nerve cells tend to die. The death of the neurons causes the development of scars. The scar tissues are what forms the white areas of the MRI of the brain and are called lesions. (Weiler, 2019)
Neurons and their communication by sending electrical signals through neurotransmitters are very important to the body. It’s what allows a person’s certain body parts to move. If the communication is blocked, this could mean paralysis. This is why chronic diseases such as MS are quite dangerous seeing that it could block the charges passed throughout the body. (Zawada and Campanella, 2022)
Hennings, J., & Lynch, H. (2020, May 28). Pando – a forest of one. EarthDate. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.earthdate.org/episodes/pando-a-forest-of-one
McNamara, L. (2015, October 5). What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?: The Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center. What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? | The Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/multiple_sclerosis/conditions/
Lovinger, D. M. (1997). The principles of nerve cell communication. Alcohol health and research world. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826821/
Weiler, N. (2022, June 27). Multiple sclerosis attacks brain’s ‘projection neurons’. Multiple Sclerosis Attacks Brain’s ‘Projection Neurons’ | UC San Francisco. Retrieved July 1, 2022, from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/07/414981/multiple-sclerosis-attacks-brains-projection-neurons
Zawada, W. M., PhD, & Campanella, J. J., PhD. (2022). Multiple sclerosis. Magill’s Medical Guide (Online Edition).
Hughes, S. E., & Macaron, G. (2021). Fast Facts: Multiple Sclerosis : A New Era of Disease Modification and Treatment: Vol. 5th edition. S. Karger.