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Neurons and Neurological Disorders

Neurons are the fundamental building blocks of the nervous system. Neurons are what make us feel our surroundings. When stimulated, these remarkable cells act like a conduit in our body, creating a network that emits signals to each cell. This signal quickly reaches our brain where it turns into information. When the brain understands this information it quickly transmits a signal to the neuron which is responsible for giving a response to the stimulus.

Neurons are more capable of transmitting signals compared to the other cells, but how do they do that? Neurons send a signal as a combination of both electrical and chemical signals. These signals jump from neuron to neuron creating a circuit-like structure. The electric signals pass through the neuron’s membrane as the flow of positively charged ions. When these ions reach the tip of a neuron called an axon, the neuron releases a small chemical. These chemicals are how the signal is transmitted. By triggering the neighboring neuron’s dendrites they cause the signal to be received and understood. In the end, the signal reaches the brain and is sent to the correct part of it to be analyzed.

But sometimes these neurons can have trouble communicating. They are what we call neurological disorders. Such disorders can occur due to structural, chemical, or electrical abnormalities within the nervous system. The most common disorders are epilepsy, Alzheimer's, and strokes.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain characterized by repeated seizures. A seizure is usually defined as a sudden alteration of behavior due to a temporary change in the brain's electrical functioning. Some stimuli usually trigger epilepsy. Triggers can differ from person to person, but common triggers include tiredness and lack of sleep, stress, alcohol, flashing and bright lights and not taking medication. While it has a chance to be fatal it can be prevented if the patient knows the common triggers.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. It is most common in the elderly, while sometimes showing its symptoms in people around their forties. The causes probably include a combination of age-related changes in the brain, along with genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's may differ from person to person. The most common way to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s is to challenge our brain with activities such as puzzles.

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. Among these three disorders strokes are the most fatal one. A stroke can cause long-lasting brain damage, long-term disability, and death. The most common types of disability after stroke are impaired speech, restricted physical abilities, weakness or paralysis of limbs on one side of the body, difficulty gripping or holding things, and a slowed ability to communicate. To prevent strokes, you must be careful about your head, your spine, and your major blood vessels.

To wrap up everything, our neurons are nature’s greatest circuit helping us live this life feeling everything around us. So we must be grateful for them and try to protect them from diseases to live life fullest.

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