Brain And Nervous Sys

Anatomy of the Nervous System

If you think of the brain as a central computer that controls all bodily functions, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body. It does this via the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down through the back and contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.

When a message comes into the brain from anywhere in the body, the brain tells the body how to react. For example, if you accidentally touch a hot stove, the nerves in your skin shoot a message of pain to your brain. The brain then sends a message back telling the muscles in your hand to pull away. Luckily, this neurological relay race takes very less time than it just took to read about it.

The cerebrum contains the information that essentially makes us who we are: our intelligence, memory, personality, emotion, speech, and ability to feel and move. Specific areas of the cerebrum are in charge of processing these different types of information. These are called lobes-the www.cialisgeneriquefr24.com frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital.

The cerebrum has right and left halves, called hemispheres, which are connected in the middle by a band of nerve fibers (the corpus collosum) that enables the two sides to communicate. Though these halves are similar in structure, they have different functions. The left side is considered the logical, analytical, objective side. The right side is thought to be more intuitive, creative, and subjective. So when you're playing chess, you're using the left side; when you're listening to music, you're using the right side. Some people are more "right-brained" or "left-brained" while others are more "whole-brained," meaning they use both halves of their brain to the same degree.

The outer layer of the cerebrum is called the cortex (also known as "gray matter"). Information collected by the five senses comes into the brain from the spinal cord to the cortex. This information is then directed to other parts of the nervous system for further processing. For example, when you touch the hot stove, not only does a message go out to move your hand but one also goes to another part of the brain to help you remember not to do that again.

In the inner part of the forebrain sits the thalamus, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland.

  • The thalamus carries messages from the sensory organs like the eyes, ears, nose, and fingers to the cortex.

  • The hypothalamus controls the pulse, thirst, appetite, sleep patterns, and other processes.

All neurons, however, relay information to each other through a complex electrochemical process, making connections that affect the way we think, learn, move, and behave.

  • Intelligence, learning, and memory. At birth, the nervous system contains all the neurons you will ever have, but many of them are not connected to each other. As you grow and learn, messages travel from one neuron to another over and over, creating connections, or pathways, in the brain. It's why driving seemed to take so much concentration when you first learned but now is second nature: The pathway became established.

  • In young children, the brain is highly adaptable; in fact, when one part of a young child's brain is injured, another part can often learn to take over some of the lost function. But as we age, it's difficult to make new neural pathways, making it more difficult to master new tasks or change established behavior patterns. It's important to keep challenging your brain to learn new things and make new connections— it helps keeps the brain active over the course of a lifetime.

  • Basic body functions. A part of the peripheral nervous system called the autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling many of the body processes we almost never need to think about, like breathing, digestion, sweating, and shivering. The autonomic nervous system has two parts: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.

  • The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for sudden stress, like if you see a robbery taking place. When something frightening happens, the sympathetic nervous system makes the heart beat faster so that it sends blood more quickly to the different body parts that might need it. It also causes the adrenal glands at the top of the kidneys to release adrenaline, a hormone that helps give extra power to the muscles for a quick getaway. This process is known as the body's "fight or flight" response.

The parasympathetic nervous system prepares the body for rest. It also helps the digestive tract move along so our bodies can efficiently take in nutrients from the food we eat.

  • The senses. Your spouse may be a sight for sore eyes at the end of a long day — but without the brain, you wouldn't even recognize him or her. The delicious food— but without the brain, your taste buds wouldn't be able to tell if you were eating pizza or the box it came in. None of your senses would be useful without the processing that occurs in the brain.

Sight. Sight probably tells us more about the world than any other sense. Light entering the eye forms an upside-down image on the retina. The retina transforms the light into nerve signals for the brain. The brain then turns the image right-side up and tells us what we are seeing.

Considering everything it does, the human brain is incredibly compact, weighing just 3 pounds. Its many folds and grooves, though, provide it with the additional surface area necessary for storing all of the body's important information.

The spinal cord, on the other hand, is a long bundle of nerve tissue about 18 inches long and ¾ inch thick. It extends from the lower part of the brain down through spine. Along the way, various nerves branch out to the entire body. These make up the peripheral nervous system.

Both the brain and the spinal cord are protected by bone: the skull, and vertebrae. They're both cushioned by layers of membranes called meninges as well as a special fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid helps protect the nerve tissue, keep it healthy, and remove waste products.

All about the Brain

The brain is made up of three main sections: the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain.

1. The Forebrain

It's the largest and most complex part of the brain. It consists of the cerebrum —

the area with all the folds th and grooves -the sulci and gyri.

2. The Midbrain

The midbrain, located underneath the middle of the forebrain, acts as a master coordinator for all the messages going in and out of the brain to the spinal cord.

3. The Hindbrain

The hindbrain sits underneath the back end of the cerebrum, and it consists of the cerebellum, Pons, and medulla. The cerebellum-is responsible for balance, movement, and coordination.

The Pons and the medulla, along with the midbrain, are often called the brainstem.

  • It takes in, sends out, and coordinates all of the brain's messages.

  • It also controls many of the body's automatic functions, like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, swallowing, digestion, and blinking.
    How the Nervous System Works.

How the Nervous System Works.

The basic functioning of the nervous system depends on neurons. The brain has billions of them, and they have many specialized functions. For example, sensory neurons take information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain. Motor neurons carry messages away from the brain and back to the rest of the body.

  • Memory is another complex function of the brain. The things we've done, learned, and seen are first processed in the cortex, and then, if we sense that this information is important enough to remember permanently, it's passed inward to other regions of the brain (such as the hippocampus and amygdala) for long-term storage and retrieval. As these messages travel through the brain, they too create pathways that serve as the basis of our memory.

  • Movement. Different parts of the cerebrum are responsible for moving different body parts. The left side of the brain controls the movements of the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the movements of the left side of the body. When you write with your right hand , for example, it's the left side of your brain that sends the message allowing you to do it.

Hearing. Every sound we hear is the result of sound waves entering our ears and causing our eardrums to vibrate. These vibrations are then transferred along the tiny bones of the middle ear and converted into nerve signals. The cortex then processes these signals, telling us what we are hearing.

Taste. The tongue contains small groups of sensory cells called taste buds that react to chemicals in foods. Taste buds react to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Messages are sent from the taste buds to the areas in the cortex responsible for processing taste.

Smell. Olfactory cells in the mucous membranes lining each nostril react to chemicals we breathe in and send messages along specific nerves to the brain— which, according to experts, can distinguish between more than 10,000 different smells. With that kind of sensitivity, it's no wonder research suggests that smells are very closely linked to our memories.

Touch. The skin contains more than 4 million sensory receptors — mostly concentrated in the fingers, tongue, and lips — that gather information related to touch, pressure, temperature, and pain and send it to the brain for processing and reaction.

 

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