Pictorial representation of connected dots in the shape of the human brain

Introduction to week 2

This week we will be building on the factual information that you picked up last week about neurones and how they are organised in the brain. Before we can understand how this underpins the range of functions the brain carries out, we will need to know something about how these neurones work.

This will require us to look at:

• the processes by which individual neurones, which can have axons that extend over long distances, can send messages from one end of the neurone to the other

• how neurones can communicate with each other and form networks which act as the circuitry in the brain that can control function

This will lead us on to think about how these processes can be influenced, for example, by experience to allow us to learn. We can also consider how drugs, either legal or illegal, can act to affect neuronal activity in a good or bad way.

So by the end of this week you should be able to start asking yourself the right sort of questions about why someone might be taking a particular drug for a brain disorder or why they have formed an addiction to a drug.

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This article is from the free online course:

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

University of Birmingham