Human behaviour, Dopamine and DNA.

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  • Human behaviour, dopamine and DNA
    • Structure:
      • Dopamine acts as a NEUROTRANSMITTER and  a HORMONE.
      • It is a precursor molecule in production of ADRENALINE & NORADRENALINE.
      • Abnormally LOW levels of dopamine are associated with Parkinson's disease.
      • HIGH levels of dopamine resulting from treatment/occurring naturally have been linked to mental health conditions such as Schizophrenia.
    • Activity:
      • Dopamine increases general AROUSAL and decreases INHIBITION, leading to an increase in creativity in conjunction with cerebral activity.
      • There are 5 different dopamine RECEPTORS referred to as DRD1 to DRD5. Each of these is coded for by a separate GENE.
      • BINDING of dopamine to its receptors is involved in motivation and leaning and linked to regulatory effects on other neurotransmitter release.
      • A number of ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUGS work by BLOCKING dopamine receptors.
    • The DRD4 receptor gene:
      • Studies have shown variants of the DRD4 gene affect the level and action of dopamine in the brain.
      • Drugs e.g. RITALIN used to treat ADHD affect dopamine levels in brain. One variant of DRD4 shown to be more frequent in individuals with ADHD.
      • Variants pf DRD4 cause increased likelihood of addictive behaviours e.g. smoking and gambling. Becomes a difference in risk taking and arousal.
    • Other neurotransmitter-influenced behavioural conditions:
      • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is thought to result from a deficiency in levels of neurotransmitter SEROTONIN.
      • Contributes to the nature-nurture debate. Behaviour cannot be attributed to either genes or the environment, it is a product of both.


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