Predicting Your Future

By Profiling Your Neurotransmitters - A Review

If one could image, using PET scan, functional fMRI, or other method, a real time picture of cell surface receptors in the brain, you could tell what someone might be good at by looking at the natural distribution of neuron types in their brains. Musician, artist, mathematician, gymnast, etc.

Seems like the basis for a good old fashioned down home sci-fi movie.

"you're not josie!"

Review: Novel neurotransmitters

This dazzling paper reviews neurotransmitters, including the definition of same. Neurotransmitters are what makes our brains work they way they do.


         There are over 100 neurotransmitters (NT's).

         Nitrous Oxide is required for erection,
Carbon Monoxide for ejaculation.

(don't confuse with car exhaust, which kills. CO binds to hemoglobin 250 times more readily than oxygen)

         You've heard of Zoloft? It's a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Reuptake is the rule, not the exception for NT's like serotonin and dopamine. My paraphrase: "He who emits the synaptic smoke signal is responsible for cleaning it up (reuptaking it)". However Histamine is not "reuptaken". Does its hormone-like immune system role, make it different?

         Short peptides are a major population of NT's, including Substance P (see bottom of linked page), tachykinin and bradykinin, the former which has been known since the thirties. Major discoveries lurk in the form of identifying other putative short peptides.

         The endogenous opioid receptors are expecting endorphins (enkalphins) which are short peptides, not what we think of as opioids. These short peptides do not have the cultural disasters associated with their simpler morphine like cousins. Why is that? Could that be used to treat addiction or those who engage in self-medicating behaviors?

         Glia cells, which make up 85% of the brain and are not viewed as "neurons" per se, secrete significant quantities of neurotranmitters.

         D-serine, serine racemase and glutamate are actors in Alzheimer's. Nonsequiteur, there are serotonin receptors on platelets. Are they really that smart after the megakaryocyte explodes into a thousand of them? Holy moly, what is going on down there?

I said all that to say this: Solomon Snyder MD does an innocent and clever thing in this paper: He fixates on the amount and type of neurotransmitter, as a function of tissue type. Just offhandedly, it suggests the following. Use immunohisto chemistry to characterize brain function by relative abundance of neurotransmitter type. Neurons do not use just one NT, they do tend to use a cocktail that is personal to that neuron's type, role and function. One could map the development of brain (and therefore eye) function by mapping neurotransmitter type back onto the 3D brain. That's the idea that this paper gave me. It's not just brain spatial compartmentalization that's the big deal, or even layering and folding. It's the differentiation into accretions of specific neuron types that prefer a given cocktail of neurotransmitters.

If one could image, using PET scan, fMRI, or other method, a real time receptor distribution, you could tell what someone might be good at by looking at the natural distribution of neuron types in their brains.

- Van