Question: In the human nervous system signals are transmitted along neurons

In the human nervous system, signals are transmitted along neurons as action potentials that travel at speeds of up to 100 m/s. (An action potential is a traveling influx of sodium ions through the membrane of a neuron.) The signal is passed from one neuron to another by the release of neurotransmitters in the synapse. Suppose someone steps on your toe. The pain signal travels along a 1.0-m-long sensory neuron to the spinal column, across a synapse to a second 1.0-m-long neuron, and across a second synapse to the brain. Suppose that the synapses are each 100 nm wide, that it takes 0.10 ms for the signal to cross each synapse, and that the action potentials travel at 100 m/s.
(a) At what average speed does the signal cross a synapse?
(b) How long does it take the signal to reach the brain?
(c) What is the average speed of propagation of the signal?

  • CreatedJune 06, 2016
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