Physiology: The Action Potential
This chapter details early studies on signals in the nervous system. Different parts of the nervous system are interconnected by long fibers called “axons,” which enable them to function together to mediate the coordinated spontaneous activity, reflexes, perceptions, memory, and willed movements that constitute behavior. The key property of an axon that is special for the nervous system, is to be “excitable,”; capable of supporting self-regenerating waves of electrical potential that can propagate rapidly over long distances. These waves are called “impulses,” or “action potentials.” Understanding excitability is therefore central to understanding the nature of nervous activity.
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