Paul Pomagrin
ESL 91
Fall, 2003

Essay Topic: Research the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Explain how this neurotransmitter works and what its function is in the body and the brain. Be sure to concentrate on how dopamine affects behavior. What happens when something goes wrong in the system; for example, when there is too much or too little dopamine? What treatments are there?

††††††† Dopamine is a very important neurotransmitter that plays a main role in the human brain. Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, and the ability to experience pleasure and pain. The body needs to have a certain amount of dopamine in order to function normally. A neurotransmitter is the chemical that enables the brain to send messages. If dopamine is in correct amount in the brain, it gives the ability for: learning, remembering things, concentrating etc. When the brain receives an imbalanced amount of dopamine it causes problems. If there is too much dopamine in the brain it can cause schizophrenia. If there is too little dopamine it can cause Parkinsonís. Drugs can treat problems with dopamine.

††††††††††† Parkinsonís disease is a disorder of the brain that affects muscle movement. Parkinsonís disease is caused by too little dopamine in the brain. Dopamine helps the nerve cells to transmit messages properly, but without dopamine it can damage the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. People with Parkinsonís disease might shake and have difficulty with walking, movements, and coordination. There is no cure for Parkinsonís disease, but there are treatments. The treatment for Parkinsonís is to take some drugs such as Benstropine or carbidopa / levodopa.

††††††††††† Schizophrenia is an emotional and mental disorder that makes a person out of touch with reality. Chemicals like dopamine play an important part in schizophrenia. When there is too much dopamine in the brain it cannot control the personís behavior and emotions. Also schizophrenia can cause hallucinations, delusions and illogical thinking. Like Parkinsonís disease there is no cure yet, only treatment. Antipsychotic drugs can help to balance and control the release of dopamine.

††††††††††† Dopamine is a chemical messenger everybody uses everyday in their body. Chemical messengers are very helpful when they function correctly, but they are harmful when they do not function correctly. Chemicals canít be imbalanced when already in the brain. Nobody can control the release of dopamine in their body.

††††††††††† Dopamine is very important in our brain and body because it affects our behavior and the ability to experience pleasure and pain. The level of dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. In Parkinsonís disease there is too little dopamine and in schizophrenia the brain releases too much dopamine. Both of these diseases have a medical treatment. Scientists have a lot of information about these diseases. I hope in the future there will be vaccines that can help a person balance their dopamine level.