The Hodgkin Huxley Experiments

In this module we are covering "Electrifying brains – active electrical spikes". In the previous module we learned that: 1-neurons are electrical devices, 2 - that the membrane behaves as an RC circuit, 3 - that synapses operate by opening a new cross-membrane conductance attached with a battery. In the present module we will proceed to deal with the active electrical aspects of neurons. Synaptic inputs are the elementary (input) sources to neurons and, typically, many (excitatory) of them are required to summate (“temporal summation”) to generate a highly (“all or none”) output signal – the notorious spike (or “action potential”). In our current understanding, sensory, motor, emotional, etc., information is represented by a particular set of neurons that “fire” these spikes. So no movies or music in your brain only spikes representing (coding for) these movies and music. We will focus on the membrane mechanisms underlying the generation of the spike and in particular on the model of Hodgkin & Huxley for the spike which is probably the most fundamental and beautiful model in neuroscience. Hodgkin & Huxley received the Nobel Prize in 1963.

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