Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA is an amino acid derivative very similar to glutamate - the brain's primary excitatory neurotransmitter.
NMDA is an unfortunate acronym for N-methyl-D-aspartate, and this amino acid derivative is very similar to glutamate. Now glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter found in most synapses of the central nervous system, and pharmacologists made this analogue called NMDA to activate a sub-type of glutamate receptors. Since there are multiple glutamate receptors, you can distinguish between them pharmacologically with different drugs, and NMDA is one of those drugs.
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Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.