Neurotransmitters

Monday, January 07, 2013

Your brain has over 100 billion neurons which allow it to communicate with the rest of your body through chemical signals known as neurotransmitters. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about how the brain works and neurotransmitters in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Your brain contains over 100 billion neurons or brain cells. These brain cells communicate with each other through complex chemical signals. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and medical science is learning a lot about these important chemicals. Scientists have already discovered over 100 of these neurotransmitters.

Certain drugs have been developed that alter the concentration of selective neurotransmitters. These drugs directly affect the function of the brain. One important neurotransmitter is a chemical called serotonin. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and basic instincts such as hunger and aggressive behavior.

The drugs that increase serotonin levels are used to treat depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Of course, side effects may include increased appetite and aggression. The drugs that decrease serotonin levels are used to decrease appetite and promote weight loss. Of course, the side effects of these drugs include depression.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.