Chapter

Basics of Neurophysiology

Jasper R. Daube and Squire M. Stead

in Clinical Neurophysiology

Third edition

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195385113
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322770 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195385113.003.0005

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Basics of Neurophysiology

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The transmission of information in the nervous system depends on the generation of a resting potential that acts as a reserve of energy poised for release when the valve is turned on. Ionic channels act as the valve, controlling the energy in the ionic concentration gradient. The release of energy is seen either as local graded potentials or as propagated action potentials that arise when local potentials reach threshold. Information is moved from one area to another as action potentials conducted by single cells. The information is integrated in neurons by the interaction of local potentials generated in response to the neurotransmitters released from depolarized nerve terminals. In this system, information can be coded either as the rate of discharge in individual cells or axons or as the number and combination of active cells. Both of these are important mechanisms, for although the activity of the nervous system can be conveniently described in terms of the electrical activity of single cells, the combined activity of large numbers of cells and axons determines the behavior of the organism.

Chapter.  11680 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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