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    Brain and Nervous System (for Parents)

    The brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.

    Brain and Nervous System

    Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD

    Print en español

    El cerebro y el sistema nervioso

    What Does the Brain Do?

    The brain controls what we think and feel, how we learn and remember, and the way we move and talk. But it also controls things we're less aware of — like the beating of our hearts and the digestion of our food.

    Think of the brain as a central computer that controls all the body's functions. The rest of 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. It contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.

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    The Brain and Nervous System

    The brain is like a computer that controls the body's functions, and the nervous system is like a network that relays messages to parts of the body.

    Click through this slideshow to learn more about the brain and nervous system.

    © 2020 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

    When a message comes into the brain from anywhere in the body, the brain tells the body how to react. For example, if you 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 happens in an instant.

    What Are the Parts of the Nervous System?

    The nervous system is made up of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system:

    The brain and the spinal cord are the central nervous system.

    The nerves that go through the whole body make up the peripheral nervous system.

    The human brain is incredibly compact, weighing just 3 pounds. It has many folds and grooves, though. These give it the added surface area needed for storing the body's important information.

    The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerve tissue about 18 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. It extends from the lower part of the brain down through spine. Along the way, nerves branch out to the entire body.

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

    What Are the Parts of the Brain?

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

    The Forebrain

    The forebrain is the largest and most complex part of the brain. It consists of the cerebrum — the area with all the folds and grooves typically seen in pictures of the brain — as well as some other structures under 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, and there are four of them: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.

    The cerebrum has right and left halves, called hemispheres. They're connected in the middle by a band of nerve fibers (the corpus callosum) that lets them communicate. These halves may look like mirror images of each other, but many scientists believe 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 balancing your checkbook, you're using the left side. When you're listening to music, you're using the right side. It's believed that 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 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 in our bodies that happen automatically.

    The hypothalamus also controls the pituitary gland, which makes the hormones that control growth, metabolism, water and mineral balance, sexual maturity, and response to stress.

    The Midbrain

    The midbrain, 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.

    Source : kidshealth.org

    Peripheral Nervous System: What It Does and How It Works

    The peripheral nervous system (PNS) includes all the nerves that lie outside of the central nervous system. Learn more about how the PNS works.

    BRAIN HEALTH

    How the Peripheral Nervous System Works

    By Kendra Cherry Updated on February 08, 2022

    Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD

    Verywell / Gary Ferster

    Table of Contents VIEW ALL

    What Is the Peripheral Nervous System?

    PNS Structures PNS Nerves PNS Diseases

    Treatment for PNS Conditions

    The peripheral nervous system includes the nerves and ganglia that are outside of the central nervous system.  The peripheral nervous system is made up of two divisions: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic system. Each part of this system plays a vital role in how information is communicated throughout the body.

    This article discusses what the peripheral nervous system is, how it works, and the influence that it has on how the body functions.

    What Is the Peripheral Nervous System?

    The nervous system is divided into two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system includes all of the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord and extend to other parts of the body including muscles and organs.

    The primary role of the PNS is to connect the CNS to the organs, limbs, and skin. These nerves extend from the central nervous system to the outermost areas of the body. The peripheral system allows the brain and spinal cord to receive and send information to other areas of the body, which allows us to react to stimuli in our environment.

    The nerves that make up the peripheral nervous system are actually the axons or bundles of axons from nerve cells or neurons. In some cases, these nerves are very small but some nerve bundles are so large that they can be easily seen by the human eye.

    Structures of the Peripheral Nervous System

    The peripheral nervous system itself is divided into two parts: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

    Each of these components plays a critical role in how the peripheral nervous system operates.

    The Somatic Nervous System

    The somatic system is the part of the peripheral nervous system responsible for carrying sensory and motor information to and from the central nervous system. The somatic nervous system derives its name from the Greek word soma, which means "body."

    The somatic system is responsible for transmitting sensory information as well as for voluntary movement. This system contains two major types of neurons:

    Motor neurons: Also called efferent neurons, motor neurons carry information from the brain and spinal cord to muscle fibers throughout the body. These motor neurons allow us to take physical action in response to stimuli in the environment.Sensory neurons: Also called afferent neurons, sensory neurons carry information from the nerves to the central nervous system. It is these sensory neurons that allow us to take in sensory information and send it to the brain and spinal cord.

    The Autonomic Nervous System

    The autonomic system is the part of the peripheral nervous system that's responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as blood flow, heartbeat, digestion, and breathing.

    In other words, it is the autonomic system that controls aspects of the body that are usually not under voluntary control. This system allows these functions to take place without needing to consciously think about them happening. The autonomic system is further divided into two branches:

    Parasympathetic system: This helps maintain normal body functions and conserve physical resources. Once a threat has passed, this system will slow the heart rate, slow breathing, reduce blood flow to muscles, and constrict the pupils. This allows us to return our bodies to a normal resting state.Sympathetic system: By regulating the flight-or-fight response,1 the sympathetic system prepares the body to expend energy to respond to environmental threats. When action is needed, the sympathetic system triggers a response by accelerating heart rate, increasing breathing rate, boosting blood flow to muscles, activating sweat secretion, and dilating the pupils.

    Recap

    The PNS is made up of two divisions: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. The somatic system contains sensory and motor neurons. It sends and receives sensory information and motor signals. The autonomic system is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions.

    Nerves in the Peripheral Nervous System

    The PNS is composed of nerves that are responsible for carrying signals between the central nervous system and the parts of the body that lie outside the CNS. This includes information from the senses, organs, and muscles.

    The axons of these nerve cells are bundled together and can be found throughout the body. Information is received by the dendrites of these cells, the information travels down the axon to the cell body. The message can then be communicated to other cells.

    The nerves that make up the peripheral nervous system connect with either the spinal cord or brain in order to transmit information to the CNS.

    Source : www.verywellmind.com

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    The peripheral nervous system is responsible for both sending and receiving signals to and from the brain.

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    True

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    all of the following are functions of smooth muscles EXCEPT:

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    A. heartbeat

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    Terms in this set (16)

    The peripheral nervous system is responsible for both sending and receiving signals to and from the brain.

    True

    all of the following are functions of smooth muscles EXCEPT:

    A. heartbeat

    The nervous system is responsible for your sense of smell.

    True

    Without the skeletal system, the body could not fight off infection.

    True

    A patient is diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Select the disorder that would match this diagnosis.

    A. multiple sclerosis

    In the skeletal system, these structures are responsible for connecting bones.

    A. ligaments and tendons

    All of the following are functions of the skeletal system EXCEPT:

    D. producing ligaments and tendons

    An example of a skeletal muscle working occurs when a person __________.

    D. stands up

    Epilepsy is considered a degenerative disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system.

    False

    The peripheral nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

    False

    Which statement correctly describes the path that an electrical impulse would take after someone touched a hot pot?

    The signal travels through the nerve of the hand to the spinal cord and then to the brain.

    If you were creating a presentation that would cover the different types of muscles in the body, which groups of muscle would you need to include?

    skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscles

    After listening to a long discussion on the skeletal system, you conclude that the skeletal system is important because it __________.

    supports the body and makes red and white blood cells

    Cardiac muscles are considered smooth muscles.

    False

    There are more smooth muscles in the body than skeletal muscles.

    False

    Select the statement that accurately describes the muscular system.

    The muscular system is composed of smooth, skeletal, and cardiac muscles.

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