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Treatments & Neurotransmitters - DementiaGuide.com
   
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Neurotransmitters

The Synapse
The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells that are called neurons. The activity of these neurons is how the brain works. For example, to control movements, the brain can send messages along neurons to different areas of the brain or to parts of the body.

A neuron is made up of a cell body , a stem called an axon and connecting branches called dendrites. Neurons use the axons and dendrites to communicate with each other. They pass messages between each other in circuits that make up actions or thoughts.

Neurotransmission is the sending of messages between neurons and is an essential feature of brain function. Neurotransmission is done by a neuron sending its message along its axon to the dendrites of other neurons, which receive the message. The message passes from one neuron to the next by crossing a gap called the synapse. When a neuron is activated, an electrical message is sent down to the end of the axon. The electrical message is then changed into a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter . The neurotransmitter then crosses the synapse towards the dendrite of the next neuron, where the message is received. On the dendrite the neurotransmitter's chemical message is changed back into an electrical message. This electrical message can then travel down to the axon of the receiving neuron.

The NeuronOnce the message has been sent, there is no need for the neurotransmitter to be in the synapse. It can be removed in two different ways.

One way is that the first neuron takes the neurotransmitter back into up into its axon.

The second way, which is used less often, occurs when the receiving neuron releases a type of protein known as an enzyme . This enzyme breaks down the neurotransmitter, removing it from the synapse.

The entire process can now begin again, allowing the brain to send hundreds of brain chemical messages to the body each minute.

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Last updated August 16, 2017
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