Example of a Neural Pathway Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1407 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

¶ … particular neural pathway in the human body. The selected pathway that will be summarized on this report is the Papez Circuit. Part of the limbic system of the body, the Papez Circuit plays a very important role. This report shall cover the structure of the pathway, how messages are transmitted along said pathway, the relationship that exists between the pathway and behavior and there will also be a summary of the research studies found for this report. The findings, the usefulness of the findings and so forth will all be discussed. While there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the human body, what is known about the Papez Circuit is fascinating.

As noted in the introduction, the Papez Circuit is part of the limbic system. To be more precise, the Papez Circuit is in the hippocampus area of the brain. The circuit in question is the meeting of two pathways, those being the fornix and entorhinal cortexes. The anterior thalamic nuclei connect to the cingulate cortex and the cingulate then transmits back to the entorhinal cortex of the para-hippocampal gyrus. The "loop" that is performed by this cycle is what the Papez Circuit is. Put another way, the path formed is from the cingulate gyrus to the hippocampal formation to the mammillary body and then to the anterior thalamic nuclei. This process then repeats and repeats (TMC, 2016).

The Papez Circuit is correlated to emotion, as was postulated by the discoverer of the phenomenon, that being James Papez in 1937. This research was expanded upon about ten years later by Yakovlev, who proposed that the circuit had control of emotion in that it was "involving the orbitofrontal, insular and anterior temporal lobe cortex, the amygdala and the dorsomedial nucleus of thalamus. This in turn led to what has come to be known as the triune concept of brain functionality. It is revealed in the work of Rajmohan and Mohandas (2007) that Papez injected the rabies virus into the brains of cats. He then watched the progression of the virus from there as it moved through the brain of the affected cats. The elaboration and expansion of the work Papez did led to the identification of the roles of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the amygdala and the septum, among a few other areas. Something that is noted in the same study is that the Papez Circuit is apparently highly involved in the dysfunction that leads to schizophrenia. This is not known for certain but this does seem to be one of the prevailing theories at this time. Indeed, there has been evidence seen that there is a distortion of cortical neuronal organizations of layer two of the entorhinal cortex, which is part of the Papez framework as mentioned earlier (Rajmohan & Mohandas, 2007).

There is a wealth of evidence that suggests that the importance of the Papez Circuit is quite significant. Indeed, the hippocampus has several functions. One of them is to produce natural corticosteroids for the body. There is also a significant contribution to understanding spatial relations within the environment that someone inhabits. Lastly, the hippocampus is "critically involved" in declarative memory functions. Indeed, the Papez Circuit is intimately involved in both emotion and memory and both of those are very important functions of the body. Dartmouth scholars go on to note that there are several types of memory. Declarative memory is also known as explicit memory. This relates to memory about things like facts and events. However, there is also implicit memory and its serves its own purpose. This type relates to the learning of skills, conditioned responses and emotional responses are all involved with this type of learning (Dartmouth, 2016).

Beyond the implications for schizophrenia mentioned above, the Papez Circuit has been looked at through the lens of mental illness and how the two are related in other ways as well. For example, a study was done in 2015 regarding the Papez Circuit as it relates to first-episode treatment-naive adults with some sort of major depressive disorder. Just as the Papez Circuit plays a major role when it comes to schizophrenia, this study asserts that the same is true for major depressive disorders. The study assesses… [END OF PREVIEW]

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