Monday, October 29, 2012

Sensation - How the ear works.

Sensation... The Ear Pages on and a nice animation

The organization that gives out the Nobel Prize has a great website about the ear and how it works.

If you're having trouble understanding the accessory structures and the cochlea this site is for you.

Here is a link to another animation about how the ear works

Animations about vision - the retina and visual pathways

Fantastic animations about the eye, visual processing in the retina and the pathways that visual information travels in the brain.

Pay close attention to the "center-surround" aspects of retinal processing it this first video.

This animation shows how the photoreceptors, bipolar and ganglion cells of the retina are organized in "center-surround" arrangements that allow "bottom up" processing of visual information to begin in the retina.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animation is worth way more. This animation really shows the visual pathway very well. Pay attention to how visual information is split in the Optic Chiasm and how it routs through the LGN of the thalamus as well as other areas specifically related to eye movement and the "biological clock" which controls circadian rhythms.

This excellent animation really explains how the visual information from the left and right visual fields makes its way to the right and left occipital lobes via the LGN of the thalamus.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some songs and videos relating to the nervous system

Here are links to some songs you might find helpful as you study the nervous system.

This really slick song about the nervous system was sent in by Marilyn R - This should win the Grammy for best use of autotune in the service of neuropsychological knowledge.

Video of the spinal reflex arc - showing afferent and efferent pathways

Good video about the action potential - shows lots of detail about how the action potential works to send the signal down the axon of a neuron. You might want to watch it a couple of times while going over your notes.

Neuroscience for Kids is a site with lots of great stuff, much of which is at a simpler level than AP, but it can still be fun and help you with some of the basics. The Brain Chemical Song is a pretty good review of neurotransmitters (if you don't mind the "Old McDonald" tune.)

The Neuron Song- Slim Brady ft. Melody Minaj is a rap that goes into some pretty good detail - you have to deal with some pretty bad recording techniques and some voices that could use autotune.

You can follow along with the lyrics which were posted on the YouTube page.

Nuron Song by Slim Brady ft. Melody Minaj

Just gonna stand there and tell you bout Neurons,
So you don't fail the class and become a moron,
Just gonna stand there and tell you bout Dendrites,
Axons, Myelin Sheaths, Synapses and the like,
And all the things alike.

I can tell you bout them Dendrites, the branching extensions of a neuron,
The lyrics of this song will tell you bout them and they're dead on,
What do they do? They receive messages from the last one,
Also, they happen to be connected to the Axon!

That's the extension of this whole thing,
I mean, come on, what else could, possibly bring,
The neural impulse, they are so cool, make me wanna sing,
The part that covers it, it is called the Myelin Sheath!

That part's function is to speed things up,
Another interesting things the all or nothing principle,
It basically says when a neuron fires,
It's either on or, there's no in between, I'm not a liar

So what I'm saying is go ahead, try as hard as you want,
Lift up your arm as fast as possible and flaunt,
The fact that when a neuron fires, it's on or off,
Seriously, making a song a bout neurons is tough..


And all the things alike

When you get sick, what do you turn to, is it medicine?
For the neuron the Soma keeps it healthy, and I kid,
You not, it keeps it firing faster than Edison,
The next topic of talk, is the Refractory Period!

Everyone needs breaks, so the neuron does too,
Right after it fires, just a second or maybe two,
Another aspect that just seems really cool,
Is Action Potential, I'll fill you in on the news!

That is what the charge is called, I kid you not,
That even thought the neurons never technically touch,
The signal does not stop, how is this possible you'll ask?
Why simply by the power of all the Synapse-

ses, they just fill in the gaps and,
chillin relaxin, sittin and passin, the charge along,
I really hope this song will let me pass or mom, 
will beat me to a pulp, is that really what you want Demars?


And all the things alike

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog Assignment #3 - The Shoe/Hair/Height correlation project.

Reading Scatter Plots and Understanding Correlations.

In a comment to this post, please discuss each of the graphs below. Be sure to address the questions under each graph. Please don't copy the questions or number your answers, rather, you should write a paragraph or two in complete sentences so your reader knows what you are talking about. Be sure to sign in as "anonymous" but put your first name and last initial in the post so I know to whom to give the credit. If you have any questions please e-mail me. Review the "how to e-mail a teacher" post on my blog before you send your e-mail.(click on the graphs to enlarge)

I strongly suggest you write the comment in Word or another program and then copy and paste it into the comment section below. This way, if the comment doesn't go through or is accidentally deleted you'll have a record of your work. Please also remember that I have to approve all comments, so it may take a while for it to show up on the blog. You don't need to resubmit it over and over. 

What can we see from the above scatter plot of hair length vs. height? Is there a correlation? How strong is it? If so, is it positive or negative; strong or weak? What information about the students in our class does this graph give you? Are there a few "outliers" or extreme data points that seem unusual? If you throw them out of the data set what does the correlation look like? What other information would be helpful to interpret the data?

Above is the data we collected about our shoe sizes vs our heights. Can you see a relationship? Is there a correlation? If so, is it positive or negative? How strong is it? What about the person who is 160cm tall and has a foot that is 9cm long? Look at a ruler to see what 9cm looks like and explain what you think happened to cause that outlier. Does shoe size cause height to change? Does height cause shoe size to change? Does correlation imply causality - explain why or why not.