An overview of the nervous system of the human body

Brains and nerves - Brain and nerve basics Summary The nervous system uses electrical and chemical means to help all parts of the body to communicate with each other. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system.

An overview of the nervous system of the human body

Efferent nerves in the PNS carry signals from the control center to the muscles, glands, and organs to regulate their functions. Nervous System Anatomy Nervous Tissue The majority of the nervous system is tissue made up of two classes of cells: Neurons Neurons, also known as nerve cells, communicate within the body by transmitting electrochemical signals.

Neurons look quite different from other cells in the body due to the many long cellular processes that extend from their central cell body.

The cell body is the roughly round part of a neuron that contains the nucleus, mitochondria, and most of the cellular organelles. Small tree-like structures called dendrites extend from the cell body to pick up stimuli from the environment, other neurons, or sensory receptor cells.

Long transmitting processes called axons extend from the cell body to send signals onward to other neurons or effector cells in the body. There are 3 basic classes of neurons: Also known as sensory neurons, afferent neurons transmit sensory signals to the central nervous system from receptors in the body.

Also known as motor neurons, efferent neurons transmit signals from the central nervous system to effectors in the body such as muscles and glands. Interneurons form complex networks within the central nervous system to integrate the information received from afferent neurons and to direct the function of the body through efferent neurons.

Each neuron in the body is surrounded by anywhere from 6 to 60 neuroglia that protect, feed, and insulate the neuron. Because neurons are extremely specialized cells that are essential to body function and almost never reproduce, neuroglia are vital to maintaining a functional nervous system.

Brain The braina soft, wrinkled organ that weighs about 3 pounds, is located inside the cranial cavity, where the bones of the skull surround and protect it.

An overview of the nervous system of the human body

The approximately billion neurons of the brain form the main control center of the body. The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system CNSwhere information is processed and responses originate.

The brain, the seat of higher mental functions such as consciousness, memory, planning, and voluntary actions, also controls lower body functions such as the maintenance of respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion.

Spinal Cord The spinal cord is a long, thin mass of bundled neurons that carries information through the vertebral cavity of the spine beginning at the medulla oblongata of the brain on its superior end and continuing inferiorly to the lumbar region of the spine.

The white matter of the spinal cord functions as the main conduit of nerve signals to the body from the brain. The grey matter of the spinal cord integrates reflexes to stimuli.

Nerves Nerves are bundles of axons in the peripheral nervous system PNS that act as information highways to carry signals between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. Each axon is wrapped in a connective tissue sheath called the endoneurium.

Individual axons of the nerve are bundled into groups of axons called fascicles, wrapped in a sheath of connective tissue called the perineurium. Finally, many fascicles are wrapped together in another layer of connective tissue called the epineurium to form a whole nerve.

The wrapping of nerves with connective tissue helps to protect the axons and to increase the speed of their communication within the body. Afferent, Efferent, and Mixed Nerves. Some of the nerves in the body are specialized for carrying information in only one direction, similar to a one-way street.

Nerves that carry information from sensory receptors to the central nervous system only are called afferent nerves. Other neurons, known as efferent nerves, carry signals only from the central nervous system to effectors such as muscles and glands. Finally, some nerves are mixed nerves that contain both afferent and efferent axons.

Mixed nerves function like 2-way streets where afferent axons act as lanes heading toward the central nervous system and efferent axons act as lanes heading away from the central nervous system. Extending from the inferior side of the brain are 12 pairs of cranial nerves.

Each cranial nerve pair is identified by a Roman numeral 1 to 12 based upon its location along the anterior-posterior axis of the brain. Each nerve also has a descriptive name e.

The cranial nerves provide a direct connection to the brain for the special sense organs, muscles of the headneck, and shoulders, the heart, and the GI tract.

Extending from the left and right sides of the spinal cord are 31 pairs of spinal nerves. The spinal nerves are mixed nerves that carry both sensory and motor signals between the spinal cord and specific regions of the body.

The 31 spinal nerves are split into 5 groups named for the 5 regions of the vertebral column.

Nervous System Anatomy

Thus, there are 8 pairs of cervical nerves, 12 pairs of thoracic nerves5 pairs of lumbar nerves5 pairs of sacral nervesand 1 pair of coccygeal nerves.

Each spinal nerve exits from the spinal cord through the intervertebral foramen between a pair of vertebrae or between the C1 vertebra and the occipital bone of the skull. Meninges The meninges are the protective coverings of the central nervous system CNS.The autonomic nervous system works with the involuntary parts of the body, including the muscles of the heart, the digestive system, and the glands.

The autonomic nervous system includes both visceral afferent fibers and the visceral efferent fibers. In the human body, two major organ systems participate in relatively “long distance” communication: the nervous system and the endocrine system.

Together, these two systems are primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord, which serve as the main control centers for the body and process all incoming and outgoing messages.

The nervous system has two major parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The central system is the primary command center for the body, and is comprised of the brain and spinal cord.

The peripheral nervous system consists of a network of nerves that connects the rest of the body to the CNS. The central nervous system functions to send signals from one cell to others, or from one part of the body to others and to receive feedback.

Malfunction of the nervous system can occur as a result of genetic defects, physical damage due to trauma or toxicity, infection or simply of ageing. The nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body.

It is essentially the body's electrical wiring. Structurally, the nervous system has two components: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

Nervous system - Wikipedia