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Your Natural Body Rhythm: Biocycles

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Section 1.4 of the textbook describes circadian rhythms. You may have noticed that you have natural highs and lows throughout the day. Thinking about your own 90-minute cycle and how it may relate to yourself and learning, how would you prepare yourself for taking a big test in your course/class at the end of the day? If you need more information, consider reviewing the ;Circadian Rhythms Fact Sheet ;from the National Institutes of Health or the open-access ;Journal of Circadian Rhythms. ;

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Willis, J., & Mitchell, G. (2014). ;The neuroscience of learning: Principles and applications for educators. ;San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

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o ; ; ; Chapter 1: ;section 1.4 Structures and Functions of the Brain

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https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

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http://www.jcircadianrhythms.com/

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The ;Diencephalon: ;Taking ;Care ;of ;the ;Body’s ;Business

The ;diencephalon ;is ;located ;directly ;above ;the ;midbrain. ;Information ;from ;the ;midbrain ;must ;pass ;through ;the ;diencephalon ;in ;order ;toreach ;the ;higher ;parts ;of ;the ;forebrain. ;While ;the ;lobes ;of ;the ;brain ;play ;a ;critical ;role ;in ;such ;aspects ;of ;our ;lives ;as ;voluntary ;control,thinking, ;perception, ;and ;memory ;storage, ;the ;diencephalon ;is ;a ;processing ;center ;for ;things ;that ;go ;on ;without ;our ;conscious ;awareness ;orvolition. ;The ;structures ;in ;the ;diencephalon ;take ;care ;of ;business ;that ;supports ;the ;body ;without ;our ;conscious ;supervision.

The ;diencephalon ;is ;composed ;of ;two ;components, ;the ;hypothalamus ;and ;the ;thalamus. ;The ;hypothalamus ;is ;a ;control ;center ;that ;is ;incharge ;of ;maintaining ;the ;overall ;metabolic ;state ;of ;the ;body. ;To ;do ;this, ;the ;hypothalamus ;maintains ;body ;temperature, ;signals ;for ;therelease ;of ;hormones ;from ;the ;pituitary ;gland, ;activates ;hunger ;and ;thirst ;responses, ;and ;maintains ;the ;biological ;clock—our ;circadianrhythm. ;Acircadian ;rhythm ;controls ;ourcircadian ;cycle, ;which ;is ;a ;change ;in ;biological ;and ;behavioral ;functioning ;over ;a ;24-hour ;period. ;Forexample, ;we ;have ;different ;levels ;of ;alertness ;throughout ;the ;day. ;Typically, ;levels ;of ;alertness ;increase ;until ;about ;midday, ;and ;then ;decrease.After ;a ;period ;of ;rest, ;alertness ;levels ;increase ;again ;until ;evening ;and ;then ;begin ;to ;drop ;again. ;Ourcircadian ;rhythm ;responds ;to ;externalcues ;such ;as ;the ;setting ;and ;rising ;of ;the ;sun ;or ;changes ;in ;the ;seasons.

The ;sensory ;processing ;component ;of ;the ;diencephalon, ;the ;thalamus, ;receives ;all ;sensory ;information ;before ;it ;goes ;to ;the ;specific ;lobe ;ofthe ;brain ;where ;it ;is ;analyzed. ;In ;the ;case ;of ;smell ;this ;process ;is ;a ;little ;different. ;When ;sensory ;information ;comes ;in ;from ;the ;nose, ;it ;is ;firstprocessed ;by ;the ;primary ;olfactory ;cortex ;in ;the ;base ;of ;the ;temporal ;lobe. ;Next, ;it ;is ;passed ;to ;the ;thalamus, ;which ;relays ;the ;information ;tothe ;orbitofrontal ;cortex ;(located ;in ;the ;frontal ;lobe) ;for ;further ;processing ;of ;smell ;information. ;In ;other ;senses, ;the ;information ;would ;passthrough ;the ;thalamus ;en ;route ;to ;the ;primary ;cortical ;area. ;It ;should ;be ;noted ;that ;sensory ;pathways ;in ;the ;brain ;also ;project ;to ;otherstructures. ;For ;example, ;there ;is ;a ;branch ;of ;the ;taste ;pathway ;that ;travels ;to ;the ;limbic ;system. ;However, ;as ;sensory ;information ;istransmitted ;to ;higher ;cortical ;areas ;(i.e., ;the ;visual ;cortex ;in ;the ;occipital ;lobe ;or ;the ;orbitofrontal ;cortex ;for ;smell), ;it ;passes ;through ;thethalamus. ;It ;is ;in ;the ;thalamus ;that ;sensory ;information ;is ;evaluated ;for ;its ;characteristics ;(is ;it ;sound, ;a ;visual ;image, ;a ;report ;of ;pain ;comingfrom ;the ;left ;foot?) ;and ;directed ;on ;to ;the ;lobe ;of ;the ;brain ;where ;it ;is ;more ;specifically ;identified ;(What ;sound ;is ;it? ;What ;is ;this ;a ;visualpicture ;of? ;Is ;the ;foot ;pain ;sharp, ;burning, ;or ;a ;numbness?). ;The ;thalamus ;is ;composed ;of ;a ;large ;number ;of ;nuclei, ;or ;clusters ;of ;neurons,that ;relay ;information ;to ;and ;from ;structures ;in ;the ;forebrain, ;especially ;the ;largest ;structure, ;which ;is ;called ;the ;cerebrum. ;It ;is ;the ;functionof ;the ;nuclei ;in ;the ;thalamus ;to ;process ;incoming ;information ;and ;pass ;it ;on ;to ;the ;cerebrum. ;Thus, ;the ;thalamus ;acts ;like ;a ;switchboardoperator ;relaying ;information ;between ;the ;cerebrum ;and ;other ;parts ;of ;the ;brain. ;There ;is ;evidence ;that ;the ;thalamus ;also ;receivesinformation ;from ;the ;cerebrum ;and ;plays ;an ;important ;role ;in ;attention ;(Haber ;& ;Calzavara, ;2009; ;McAlonan, ;Cavanaugh, ;& ;Wurtz, ;2006;Sillito, ;Jones, ;Gerstein, ;& ;West, ;1994; ;Zikopoulos ;& ;Barbas, ;2006).

The ;diencephalon, ;together ;with ;the ;midbrain ;and ;hindbrain, ;makes ;up ;the ;brain ;stem. ;In ;terms ;of ;evolutionary ;development, ;the ;brain ;stemis ;considered ;to ;be ;the ;oldest ;part ;of ;the ;brain.

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