Parts of the nervous system: anatomical functions and structures

Like other animals, humans are able to perceive and assimilate information both about the outer space around them and about their own interior; capturing, consciously or unconsciously, the signals that the body itself emits from any part of it.

The nervous system is responsible for receiving and transmitting these signals, for managing and organizing the various tasks and activities of the body. This task has made it the most complex structure of everything that functions in the human body. But just because it’s complicated to understand doesn’t mean that we can’t understand, at least superficially, how it happens and how it works. Below we will see what are the parts of the nervous system and what are their tasks.

    What is the nervous system and what are its parts?

    The nervous system has the function of organize, coordinate and direct the tasks that the human body performs, Constituting itself as a kind of internal network which encompasses the whole body. To do this, it uses a grouping of organs and structures whose fundamental task is to collect and process stimuli and signals, both from the inside and from the outside, in order to achieve an adequate interaction. with everything that surrounds the person.

    All of this set comes from nerve tissue of ectodermal origin, which means it is part of all parts of the body that were first formed in the embryo.

    Likewise, this nerve tissue is made up of cells called neuronsThese are specialized cells that communicate through chemical and electrical signals that travel throughout the human body to the brain, which processes them and sends a flight response to the rest of the body.

    It has been found that the number of neurons that make up the brain is around 100.00 million.

    There are several ways to study and divide the human nervous system, this article will focus on the anatomical point of view. From this perspective, this complex structure is formed by the central nervous system (CNS), in which it includes the brain and the spinal cord; and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) which is made up of all the nerves that start from the CNS and run throughout the body.

      The central nervous system (CNS)

      The central nervous system has a number of peculiarities. Some of them are:

      • Its most important organs are highly protected from the external environment, more precisely by three membranes called meninges.
      • The functional cells of the central nervous system come together to form two different organizations: white matter and gray matter.
      • The means of transmitting the information is through small holes located in the brain and spinal cord, inside which the cerebrospinal fluid is located.

      As we saw above, the central nervous system is made up of two different structures: the brain and the spinal cord.

      1. Brain

      The brain is the structure of the central nervous system found in the skull. This set of organs dominates all aspects of the body, including all the functions, both voluntary and involuntary, that a person can perform.

      From an anatomical point of view the brain includes the brain, cerebellum and brainstem, Being also formed by other structures which are explained below.

      1.1. brain

      It is the most famous organ of all this system and also the one which has a more considerable size.

      The brain is divided into two large hemispheres, left and right hemisphere, And in the middle of which is the interhemispheric slit. Likewise, these two hemispheres communicate through a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum.

      The outer area of ​​the brain it is known as the cerebral cortex, Formed of matter and gray, which takes the form of folds called convolutions. Under this layer of gray matter is white matter. Outraged. gray matter is also part of other structures such as the thalamus, caudate nucleus, and hypothalamus.

      Among many other functions, the brain is responsible for processing information from the different senses, as well as controlling movement, cognition, emotions, memory, and learning.

      1.2. cerebellum

      Located at the bottom and back of the brain, the cerebellum is responsible for integrate the sensory and motor processes of the human body.

      This is connected to other brain structures and to the spinal cord by a myriad of nerve bundles, so that it manages to participate in all the signals that the cortex sends to the locomotor system.

      Recent studies have also revealed that the cerebellum may be involved in other functions, including those related to cognitive and language processing, learning, and even the processing of other sensory stimuli such as music.

        1.3. brainstem

        Also known as the brainstem or brainstem, it is the primary communication route between the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Likewise, this system composed of gray and white matter is able to control various tasks such as breathing or heart rate.

        The structures that are part of the brainstem are mesencephalon, annular bulge and medulla oblongata, Also known as the medulla oblongata.

          2. Spinal cord

          The spinal cord has the fundamental mission of transport nerve impulses from the brain to the 31 pairs of nerves of the peripheral nervous system.

          Information flows in two main ways:

          • Afferent pathway: in which information flows from the trunk, neck and all four limbs to the brain.
          • Efferent pathway: Signals travel from the brain to the rest of the body.

          Likewise, some of his other tasks involve controlling vegetative and immediate movements.

          Peripheral nervous system

          The peripheral nervous system is responsible for transmit signals through the spinal and spinal nerves, Which are located outside the central nervous system but aim to connect it to other structures and systems.

          If we continue with the anatomical classification, the SNP is made up of cranial and spinal nerves.

            3. Cranial nerves

            Cranial nerves are made up of 12 pairs of nerves, which is why they are also called cranial pairs. These originate in the brain and up to the brainstem, distributed throughout the body through holes located at the base of the skull, neck, chest and abdomen.

            These nerves are born located according to the task they are going to accomplish. Those responsible for transmitting motor information take the efferent path, And have their origin in the brainstem.

            While the fibers in charge of sensory and sensory signals, which cross the afferent pathway, originate outside the brainstem.

            4. Spinal nerves

            Spinal nerves, or spinal nerves, are 31 pairs of nerves responsible for transmitting sensory signals, such as touch or pain, from the trunk and all four limbs to the central nervous system. In addition, they are involved in the information of posture, musculature and joints, then transporting information from the SCN to the rest of the body.

            There is another classification of the peripheral nervous system according to the function of each of its pathways; separate them somatic nervous system, Responsible for mediation between the internal organization and the external environment; and the autonomic or vegetative nervous system, which is involved in the body’s internal connections and communication.

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