Neurochemistry: The Role of Neurotransmitters in Memory and Learning
The mechanisms involved in the registration and recollection of human memories are principally facilitated by systems rooted in chemistry, specifically electro-chemistry. Our body’s neural communication system is intricately weaved and relayed by interneuron mechanisms that enable out nervous system to perform at not just a fundamental level but also at an endlessly multifaceted one, creating the human capacity to carry out complex cognitive functions and processes such as memory and learning.
A. On Neurotransmitter Secretion
Interneuron communication is primarily performed through the process of neurotransmission. The term ‘neurotransmitter’ refers to those chemicals that transmit nerve impulses by diffusing signals across a synapse from one neuron to a neighboring ‘target neuron.’
The precise chemical identity of neurotransmitters is oftentimes difficult to determine experimentally; however, the essential role of the study of chemistry within the context of neurotransmission is not inherent in the specific identity of the neurotransmitter itself but rather in the mechanisms by which neurotransmitters operate. Neurons, like batteries, generate electricity from chemical events. The chemistry-to-electricity process involves the exchange of ions, electrically charged atoms. The fluid interior of a resting axon has an excess of negatively charged ions, while the fluid outside the axon membrane has more positively charged ions.
This neurotransmission is believed to occur by means of a voltage-dependent calcium channel; interneuron communication begins with the excitement of a neuron by some external stimulus, causing an electrical impulse known as an...
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