The dendrites receive information from other nerve cells. The axon forwards information to other nerve cells.
The dendrites are so called because they look like a tree. Dendron means tree in ancient greek.
The dendrites do not have smooth surfaces as in the image above. In fact they have protruberances on them called dendritic spines rather like leaves
on a tree. This is a close-up of a dendrite. You can observe the spines or leaves.
The spines/leaves are growing and receding all day long. This is a video of the spines/leaves (from the hearing part of the brain of a mouse).
Here is another video of the spines/leaves on the dendrite.
It seems that in most psychiatric diseases the spines/leaves are decreased. Reduced spines/leaves are associated with
1. Fear - or anxiety
2. Self-pity - or depression
3. Resentment - or hatred
4. Dishonesty - and even criminality
5. Memory impairment - or dementia
6. Auditory hallucinations - as in schizophrenia.
7. Following a convulsion.
Even simple things such as hunger, anger, loneliness or tiredness reduce spines/leaves. Being too serious may also have the same effect.
I like to compare the images to a tree changing from summer to winter when one feels lousy and vice-versa when one feels good.
What makes spines/leaves grow to make one feel good?
It seems the following may help:
1. Sometimes it happens spontaneously - the eureka moment.
2. Having positive people around you.
3. Avoiding isolation.
6. Physical/mental exercise.
8. Pleasant music/images.
9. Curcumin in curries/omega 3 fish oils.
10. Anti-depressants e.g. Prozac.
11. Alcohol, nicotine, coc aine, amphetamine.
12. Electrical brain stimulation.
This simple model may be of use to people who are in a winter part of their lives and seek to change from this:
In grad school, my thesis was on new nerve growth in the spinal cord. I used limb bud mesenchyme as a trigger and utilized a flourescent
lipophilic dye to identify new nerve growth in Sykes-Moore chambers.
I taught endocrinology (part of my TA RA assignment) so I can agree that mood, based on endocrine levels may have an effect on nerve growth.
Some antidepressants have been shown to increase neurogenesis. The effect happens a couple months after taking some of them, which is when
antidepressants tend to work. Neurotransmitters are thought to be what's responsible for depression but it could be that new neurons are the bigger
factor in "contentment" I guess you could say.
But agreed on number 11, what were you thinking OP?
Alcohol increases the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA promoting relaxation, but it doesn't increase neuron growth according to general
consensus. Nicotine via cigarettes has been shown to activate the immune system in the brain causing a degree of inflammation and cell death.
re anti-depressants effect on the spines/leaves
The following article is interesting: Prozac made my cells spikey
"The mood-improving actions of antidepressants do not depend on neurogenesis but are associated with neuronal remodeling."
re short-term effect of alcohol on spines/leaves Brain chemistry ties anxiety and alcoholism
"The researchers found that short-term alcohol exposure increased the number of dendritic spines in certain regions of the amygdala (fear center),
producing anti-anxiety effects."
Thanks for the thread. I didn't know I was increasing my brain power drinking alcohol and stimulating my brain by watching half naked women.
I wonder if alcohol could explain why in times past, I have experienced super speed where arcade games appear to be moving much slower than normal.
When that happens it's like I can move and think a whole lot faster. I do wonder how much beer I need to drink to get a steady growth of brain
Anyway, thanks for the thread.
I knew I was feeling better tonight and didn't know my brain was getting stimulated so much. Thanks for the heads up. I really do feel better
tonight and I'm not even sure why.
I've noticed similar effects when I experience a runner's high and it seems similar to drinking a few beers.
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