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Thought Chemistry

Yesterday, in The Brain , Fig, Walnut, Dopamine Connection, I introduced the subject of brain chemistry and I think it is time to spend a few days introducing more of the brain's internal chemistry, which enables the electrical activity.

The cartoonist's image,of a thought as a light bulb going on is not too far from reality. Your brain has enough electricity within it, at this moment, to light a twenty-five watt bulb.

Thoughts travel through your brain cells on electrical currents. Long strings of brain cells "light up" with electrical energy to form complete thoughts and memories. If part of this chain of bioelectric current is interrupted,the memory, or thought, becomes incomplete.

Brain cells are uniquely capable of building these memory chains because of their shapes; most brain cells are elongated and shaped rather like trees, with branches on one end and roots at the other. Twenty thousand cells would fit on the head of a pin.

The roots of the trees are called axons. Information flows into the axons from the dendritic branches of adjacent neurons. Then, in the form of electrical impulse, this information travels up the trunk of the tree, or the neuron's cell body, to the dendrites, or branches of the tree. From the dendrites, the electric impulse travels to the axon of another neuron. Eventually, a complete thought or memory is formed.

When an electrical thought impulse reaches the very tip of a dendrite, it is transformed into a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter then floods the gap between the cells. When it reaches the next cell, it attaches itself. This sets up an electrical charge in that cell and the thought continues to travel

There are approximately 100 different neurotransmitter but we will limit ourselves to the six neuropeptides, which are most involved in the cognitive process. We can control our moods and vastly improve our memories, by stimulating the release of various neurotransmitters. The big six are acetylcholine, norepinephrine, the previously describe dopamine, serotonin, l-glutamate, GABA, and endorphins. When you understand their functions, I'll give you methods to increase your intellectual power, using the tools in your toolbox.

Any questions??