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a cell that conducts electrochemical signals; the basic unit of the nervous system

cell body

the part of the neuron that keeps it alive and determines whether it will fire


a neuron's extending fiber that conducts impulses away from the cell body and transmits them to other neurons or to muscle or gland cells


a neuron's branches that receive information from other neurons and transmit it toward the cell body


the site where transmission of a nerve impulse from one nerve cell to another occurs; it includes the axon terminal, the synaptic cleft, and receptor sites in the membrane of the receiving cell


cells that support, nurture, and insulate neurons, remove debris when neurons die, and modify neuronal functioning


a chemical substance that is released by a transmitting neuron at the synapse and that alters the activity of a receiving neuron


a voltage shift in a positive direction; stimulates the neuron


a voltage shift in a negative direction; inhibits the neuron


affects neurons involved in muscle action, cognitive functioning, memory, and emotion


chemical substances in the nervous system that are involved in pain reduction, pleasure, and memory


affects neurons involved in voluntary movement, learning, memory, emotion, and possibly, response to novelty


affects neurons involved in sleep, appetite, sensory perception, temperature regulation, pain suppression, and mood


affects neurons involved in increased heart rate and slowing of intestinal activity due to stress, and neurons involved in learning, memory, dreaming, waking from sleep, and emotion

Alzheimer's disease

a disorder that has been linked to abnormally low levels of acetylcholine in the brain


a disorder that has been linked to abnormally high levels of dopamine in the brain

Parkinson's disease

a disorder that has been linked to abnormally low levels of dopamine in the brain


a condition that has been linked to abnormally high or low levels of serotonin in the brain

sleep disorders

conditions that have been linked to abnormally high or low levels of serotonin in the brain

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