Briefly describe the function of myelin and discuss the neuropsychological impact one disorder which causes demyelination
Neurons are individual cells that are part of the nervous system. They receive, incorporate and transmit impulses. Signals are obtained from dendrites which “passes through the soma” via the axon. The signal then is transferred to other dendrites of other cells meeting at synapses. For all this to happen a special tool is required, which is known as Myelin. Myelin is an imperative component of neurons that enable it to send out efficient signals. Without myelin the body will become dysfunctional. The brain and the spinal cord will not be able to communicate or with the rest of the nerves in the body. As a result this will lead to the appearance of many symptoms that may affect the sensory neurons or motor neurons etc. For example, there are a number of demyelinating diseases that have these symptoms however this essay will predominantly focus on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) discussing its neuropsychological impacts.
Moreover, before dwelling into the main focus of this essay myelin is a sheath that is made up of lipid fat and proteins coated around one or more axons. The myelin sheath is formed in both CNS and PNS, however, the cell that produces it is different. In the PNS, myelin is formed by the Schwann cell that repeatedly wraps around a single axon. Where as in the CNS, glia cells produce myelin around that encase around numerous axons. The myelin sheath works like an insulator that encapsulates the axon; preventing electrical signals from diffusing and increases the speed of propagation of the action potential along the axon. This is achieved by making electrical jumps amongst the gaps of the axon known as nodes of Ranvier.
It also protects the axon from being damaged by infectious agents or inflammation. Overall, this speed enables individuals to sustain a healthy nervous system. Without or deterioration of myelin the speed propagation of action potential will be weak. Thus, diseases of myelin disorder will occur resulting in demyelination (Thibodeau & Patton, 2002) and body will be unable to function as effective.
Furthermore, these effects are demonstrated by the effects of the demyelinating disease called MS.
It is a disease whereby inflammation occurs in some parts of the brain or spinal cord, which can cause damage to the brain and many symptoms. MS is also known as an autoimmune disease; whilst active T cells mainly (part of the immune system) identify myelin as foreign thus attack them, which is either left damaged or destroyed. Consequently, gaps are left in the neuron in shape of scars known as lesions. This damage will as a result lead to a slow/ distorted propagation of electrical impulses or none at all. This will overall conclude to damages to the nerves and in the long run cause major symptoms.
With regards to symptoms that affect the physical aspects of the nervous system consists of a variety of...