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Brain Chemistry and Recent Advances The mysteries surrounding the complexity of the brain and how it works has led scientists in diverse fields to search for answers Chemicals in the brain and the reactions that take place are being understood now more than ever due to continuing research in genetics pharmacology and mental illness Study and research in genetics has helped identify some of the genes involved in producing receiving or sending certain chemical reactions the way they work and how they affect certain behaviors Pharmacological research has led to advances in medications available which can help regulate and change the way brain chemistry works Research into mental illness has helped us to realize that these illnesses are due in part to biological chemical imbalances As we understand our brains chemistry better we also understand more about how we think and reason why we react different to different situations and even whether or not our children may be predisposed to certain mental illnesses The brain is saturated with the chemicals needed to manage moods feelings energy memory emotions and other processes Brain chemicals are found inside brain cells known as neurons Neurons serve as the basis of all brain activity They have branches that connect and communicate with other cells One neuron can receive information from thousands of other neurons The movement of brain chemicals is the way information is communicated between neurons Different neurons specialize in releasing different chemicals Neurons have projections called dendrites that receive information from other neurons into the cell body When a neuron has accumulated enough information it sends an electrical pulse down one of its branches called an axon that takes information away from the cell body Cell bodies contain a presynapse terminal a synapse gap and a postsynapse terminal Information from one neuron flows to another neuron across the synapse gap The synapse gap is a space between two neurons The axon leads to a presynapse
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