Essential idea: Communication between neurons can be altered through the manipulation of the release and reception of chemical messengers.
Understandings, Applications and Skills
|A.5.U1||Some neurotransmitters excite nerve impulses in postsynaptic neurons and others inhibit them.|
|A.5.U2||Nerve impulses are initiated or inhibited in post-synaptic neurons as a result of summation of all excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters received from presynaptic neurones.|
|A.5.U3||Many different slow-acting neurotransmitters modulate fast synaptic transmission in the brain.|
|A.5.U4||Memory and learning involve changes in neurones caused by slow-acting neurotransmitters.|
|A.5.U5||Psychoactive drugs affect the brain by either increasing or decreasing postsynaptic transmission.|
|A.5.U6||Anesthetics act by interfering with neural transmission between areas of sensory perception and the CNS.|
|A.5.U7||Stimulant drugs mimic the stimulation provided by the sympathetic nervous system.|
|A.5.U8||Addiction can be affected by genetic predisposition, social environment and dopamine secretion.|
|A.5.A1||Effects on the nervous system of two stimulants and two sedatives. [Examples of stimulants are nicotine, cocaine or amphetamines. Examples of sedatives are benzodiazepines, alcohol or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).]|
|A.5.A2||The effect of anesthetics on awareness.|
|A.5.A3||Endorphins can act as painkillers.|
|A.5.S1||Evaluation of data showing the impact of MDMA (ecstasy) on serotonin and dopamine metabolism in the brain.|
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Presentation and notes
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Nature of science
Assessing risks associated with scientific research - patient advocates will often press for the speeding up of drug approval processes, encouraging more tolerance of risk. (4.5)
Attitudes to drugs and the use of drugs differ globally. There are many cultures that use drugs to enhance rituals or religious experiences.