Core Concepts

These are the core concepts of the Neuroseeds curriculum:

The nervous system controls and responds to body functions and directs behavior


The brain is the body’s most complex organ

  • There are a hundred billion neurons in the human brain and we use them all.
  • Each neuron communicates with many other neurons to share information.
  • The nervous system influences and is influenced by all other body systems (e.g., cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal and immune systems).
  • Humans have a complex nervous system that evolved from a simpler one.
  • The brain can malfunction in many ways, leading to disorders that have an enormous personal, social, and economic impact.

Neurons communicate using electrical & chemical signals

  • Sensory stimuli are converted into electrical signals.
  • Action potentials are electrical signals carried along neurons.
  • Synapses are chemical or electrical junctions that allow electrical signals to pass from neurons to other cells.
  • Electrical signals in muscles cause contraction and movement.
  • Communication between neurons is strengthened or weakened by an individual’s activities, such as exercise, stress, and drug use.
  • All thoughts and behaviors result from combinations of signals among neurons

Life experiences change the nervous system

  • Differences in genes and environments make the brain of each animal unique.
  • Challenging the brain with physical and mental activity helps maintain its structure and function — “use it or lose it.”
  • Peripheral neurons have greater ability to regrow after injury than neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Some neurons continue to be generated throughout life and their production is regulated by hormones and experience.

The brain is the foundation of the mind; Intelligence arises as the brain reasons, plans, and solves problems

  • The brain makes sense of the world by using all available information, including senses, emotions, instincts and memories.
  • The brain learns from experiences and makes predictions about best actions in response to present and future challenges.

Brain research promotes health and leads to understanding and therapies.

  • The nervous system can be studied at many levels, from complex behaviors such as speech or learning, to the interactions among individual molecules.
  • Results from research can teach us about mind, intelligence, imagination, and consciousness.
  • Curiosity leads us to unexpected and surprising discoveries that can benefit humanity.
  • Neuroscience research has formed the basis for significant progress in treating a large number of disorders.
  • Finding cures for disorders of the nervous system is a social imperative.

Neuroscience research must be done in an ethical manner

  • Experiments on animals provide insights about the human brain and help to make healthy lifestyle choices, prevent diseases, and find cures for disorders
  • Testing chemicals or plant extracts on animals is a way to determine their likely effect on humans
  • Testing chemicals or plant extracts on animals to determine safety is more ethical than testing on humans before these safety tests have been carried out.
  • Research on humans is an essential final step before new treatments are introduced to prevent or cure disorders.

The plant world is filled with species that contain chemicals with medical properties, including neuroactive properties.

  • Plants and herbs have been used around the world for millennia to alter brain function.
  • Traditional healers around the world use plants to treat illness, including mental illness
  • In most cultures in the world, plants are used daily to alter mental function.
  • It is likely that many plants with medicinal uses/ neuroactive properties have not been “discovered by modern science” yet
  • Humans are intimately connected with the natural world and can use plants to solve modern problems, including problems in neuroscience

There are many people with mental and neurological disorders in our society.

  • Plant extracts may contain chemicals which can treat these illnesses


The concepts were taken directly or adapted from: Society for Neuroscience Core Concepts