Bio 16 vocab

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Bio 16 vocab
2011-03-22 00:34:14


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  1. acetylcholine (ACh)
    neurotransmitter active in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.
  2. acetylcholinesterase (AChE)
    enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine bound to post-synaptic receptors within a synapse.
  3. action potential
    electrochemical changes that take place across the axomembrane; the nerve impulse.
  4. alzheimer disease (AD)
    brain disorder characterized by a general loss of mental abilities.
  5. anygdala
    portion of the limbic system that functions to add emotional overtones to memories.
  6. association area
    one of several regions of the cerebral cortex related to memory, reasoning, judgement, and emotional feelings.
  7. autonomic system
    branch of the peripheral nervous system that has control over the internal organs; consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
  8. axon
    elongated portion of a neuron that conducts nerve impulses typically from the cell body to the synapse.
  9. axon terminal
    small swelling at the tip of one of many endings of the axon.
  10. basal nuclei
    nerve cells that integrate motor commands to ensure balance and coordination.
  11. brain
    enlarged superior portion of the central nervous system located in the cranial cavity of the skull.
  12. brain stem
    portion of the brain consisting of the medulla oblongata, pons, and midbrain.
  13. broca's area
    region of the frontal lobe that coordinates complex muscular actions of the mouth, tongue, and larynx, making speech possible.
  14. cell body
    portion of a neuron that contains a nucleus and from which dendrites and an axon extend.
  15. central nervous system (CNS)
    portion of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord.
  16. cerebellum
    part of the brain located posterior to the medulla oblongata and pons that coordinates skeletal muscles to produce smooth, graceful motions.
  17. cerebral cortex
    outer layer of cerebral hemispheres; receives sensory information and controls motor activities.
  18. cerebral hemisphere
    one of the large, paired structures that together constitute the cerebrum of the brain.
  19. cerebrospinal fluid
    fluid found in the ventricles of the brain, in the central canal of the spinal cord, and in association with the meninges.
  20. cerebrum
    main part of the brain consisting of two large masses, or cerebral hemispheres; the largest part of the brain in mammals.
  21. corpus callosum
    bridge of nerve tracts that connects the two cerebral hemispheres.
  22. cranial nerve
    nerve that arises from the brain.
  23. dendrite
    branched ending of a neuron that conducts signals toward the cell body.
  24. depolarization
    when the charge inside the axon changes from positive to negative.
  25. diencephalon
    portion of the brain in the region of the third ventricle that includes the thalamus and hypothalamus.
  26. dopamine
    neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
  27. dorsal-root ganglion
    mass of sensory neuron cell bodies located in the dorsal root of a spinal nerve.
  28. drug abuse
    dependence on a drug, which assumes an "essential" biochemical role in the body following habituation and tolerance.
  29. effector
    muscle or gland that responds to stimulation.
  30. episodic memory
    capacity of brain to store and retrieve information with regard to persons and events.
  31. GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid)
    major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS.
  32. ganglia
    collections of nerve cell bodies found in the peripheral nervous system.
  33. ganglion
    collection or bundle of neuron cell bodies usually outside the central nervous system.
  34. glutamate
    major excitatory CNS neurotransmitter.
  35. gray matter
    non myelinated axons and cell bodies in the central nervous system.
  36. hippocampus
    portion of the limbic system where memories are stored.
  37. hypothalamus
    part of the brain located below the thalamus that helps regulate the internal environment of the body and produces releasing factors that control the anterior pituitary.
  38. integration
    summing up of excitatory and inhibitory signals by a neuron or by some part of the brain.
  39. internueron
    neuron located within the central nervous system that conveys messages between parts of the central nervous system.
  40. learning
    relatively permanent change in behavior that results from practice and experience.
  41. limbic system
    association of various brain centers, including the amygdala and hippocampus; governs learning and memory and various emotions, such as pleasure, fear, and happiness.
  42. long-term memory
    retention of information that lasts longer than a few minutes.
  43. long-term potentiation (LTP)
    enhanced response at synapses within the hippocampus; likely essential to memory storage.
  44. medulla oblongata
    part of the brain stem that is continuous with the spinal cord; controls heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, and other vital functions.
  45. memory
    capacity of the brain to store and retrieve information about past sensations and perceptions; essential to learning.
  46. meninges (sing., meninx)
    protective membranous coverings about the central nervous system.
  47. midbrain
    part of the brain located below the thalamus and above the pons; contains reflex centers and tracts.
  48. motor neuron
    nerve cell that conducts nerve impulses away from the central nervous system and innervates effectors (muscles and glands).
  49. myelin sheath
    white, fatty material, derived from the membrane of Schwann cells, that forms a covering for nerve fibers.
  50. nerve signal
    action potential (electrochemical change) traveling along a neuron.
  51. neuroglia
    nonconducting nerve cells that are intimately associated with neurons and function in a supportive capacity.
  52. neuron
    nerve cell that characteristically has three parts; dendrites, cell body, and axon.
  53. neurotransmitter
    chemical stored at the ends of axons that is responsible for transmission across a synapse.
  54. node of Ranvier
    gap in the myelin sheath around a nerve fiber.
  55. norepinephrine (NE)
    neurotransmitter of the postganglionic fibers in the sympathetic division of the autonomic system; also, a hormone produced by the adrenal medulla.
  56. nuclei
    membrane-bounded organelle that contains chromosomes and controls the structure and function of the cell.
  57. parasympathetic division
    that part of the autonomic system that is active under normal conditions; uses acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter.
  58. parkinson disease
    progressive deterioration of the central nervous system due to a deficiency in the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  59. peripheral nervous system (PNS)
    nerves and ganglia that lie outside the central nervous system.
  60. pons
    portion of the brain stem above the medulla oblongata and below the midbrain; assists the medulla oblongata in regulating the breathing rate.
  61. prefrontal area
    association area in the frontal lobe that receives information from other association areas and uses it to reason and plan actions.
  62. primary somatosensory area
    area dorsal to the central sulcus where sensory information arrives from skin and skeletal muscles.
  63. reflex
    automatic, involuntary response of an organism to a stimulus.
  64. refractory period
    time following an action potential when a neuron is unable to conduct another nerve impulse.
  65. repolarization
    when the charge inside the axon resumes a negative charge.
  66. resting potential
    polarity across the plasma membrane of a resting neuron due to an unequal distribution of ions.
  67. reticular formation
    complex network of nerve fibers within the central nervous system that arouses the cerebrum.
  68. saltatory conduction
    movement of nerve impulses from one neurofibril node to another along a myelinated axon.
  69. Schwann cell
    cell that surrounds a fiber of peripheral nerve and forms the myelin sheath.
  70. semantic memory
    capacity of the brain to store and retrieve information with regard to words or numbers.
  71. sensory neuron
    nerve cell that transmits nerve impulses to the central nervous system after a sensory receptor has been stimulated.
  72. sensory receptor
    structure that receives either external or internal environmental stimuli and is a part of a sensory neuron or transmits signals to a sensory neuron.
  73. serotonin
    a neurotransmitter
  74. short-term memory
    retention of information for only a few minutes, such as remembering a telephone number.
  75. skill memory
    capacity of the brain to store and retrieve information necessary to perform motor activities, such as riding a bike.
  76. sodium-potassium pump
    carrier protein in the plasma membrane that moves sodium tons out of and potassium ions into cells; important in nerve and muscle cells.
  77. somatic system
    that portion of the peripheral nervous system containing motor neurons that control skeletal muscles.
  78. spinal cord
    part of the central nervous system; the nerve cord that is continuous with the base of the brain plus the vertebral column that protects the nerve cord.
  79. spinal nerve
    nerve that arises from the spinal cord.
  80. stimulus
    change in the internal or external environment that a sensory receptor can detect, leading to nerve impulses in sensory neurons.
  81. sympathetic division
    the part of the autonomic system that usually promotes activities associated with emergency (fight or flight) situations; uses norepinephrine as a neurotransmitter.
  82. synapse
    junction between neurons consisting of the presynaptic (axon) membrane, the synaptic cleft, and the post synaptic (usually dendrite) membrane.
  83. synaptic cleft
    small gap between presynaptic and post synaptic membranes of a synapse.
  84. thalamus
    part of the brain located in the lateral walls of the third ventricle that serves the integrating center for sensory input; it plays a role in arousing the cerebral cortex.
  85. threshold
    electrical potential level (voltage) at which an action potential or nerve impulse is produced.
  86. tract
    bundle of myelinated axons in the central nervous system.
  87. ventricle
    cavity in an organ, such as a lower chamber of the heart or the ventricles of the brain.
  88. Wernicke's area
    brain area involved in language comprehension.
  89. white matter
    myelinated axons in the central nervous system.