Synapse
Definition:
- The space between the axon terminals of one neuron and the dendrites of another neuron. A junction or connection between the neurons.

Facts:
- A neuron transmits its impulses or message to another neuron across the synapse by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters.
- They send messages to other parts of your body to make you move.
- If you didn’t have synapses you wouldn’t be able to move your fingers, toes, etc.
- Synapses need enough calcium, vitamins, and nutrients to work properly.
- The purpose of the synapse is to facilitate communication between neuron cells.


external image synapse.jpg

Anatomy of Synapse
Axon - part of the neuron that acts as the neurotransmitter. An axon extends out toward the dendrite of another neuron to form a synaptic connection.
Dendrite - located on the post-synaptic cell, receives the chemical or electrical information sent by the axon of the pre-synaptic cell.
Transmitters – communicate across the gap between the axon and synapse. These pulses of information can be chemical or electrical
Neural Network – a simple thought or action is the result of millions of neurons communicating through their synaptic connections.
Synaptic Vesicles - also known as neurotransmitter vesicles, store various neurotransmitters that are realeased at the synapse. The release is regulated by a voltage-dependent calcium channel.

Disorders
Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) – also known as Martin-Bell Syndrome, is a genetic syndrome which results in a spectrum of characteristic physical and intellectual limitations and emotional and behavioral features which range from severe to mild in manifestation.
Rett Syndrome - a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting grey matter. The clinical features include small hands and feet and a deceleration of the rate of head growth.
Tuberous sclerosis - also known as tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a rare, multi-system genetic disease that causes benign tumours to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs, and skin.
Autism – a mental condition, present form early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships, and in using language and abstract concepts.

References
http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=brainBriefings_09_synapse

Books
Understanding Psychology ~ Glencoe by Richard A. Kasschau