The nervous system is made up of two main parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). For the purpose of this paper, the discussion will revolve around the central nervous system— an essential part of the human body that controls most functions of the body and mind. According to Quinn et al, CNS majorly functions as the processing centre for the nervous system (64). The CNS receives information from and sends it to the PNS. It consists of two parts; the brain and the spinal cord.
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Functions of the Central Nervous System
The brain, which is the most complex organ in the human body, is protected by a scull also known as the cranial cavity. It is further covered by a protective layer of connective tissue called the meninges. The brain comprises of the following parts: forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. The forebrain is responsible for receiving and processing sensory information, thinking, understanding language and controlling motor functions. Similarly, it contains structures like thalamus and hypothalamus responsible for relaying sensory information and controlling autonomic functions. Beneath the meninges lies the cerebral cortex which is the gray matter covering the brain—it is further divided into four cortex lobes: frontal lobes, parietal lobes, occipital lobes and temporal lobes. The midbrain, on its part, connects the hindbrain and the forebrain besides carrying out the auditory and visual responses (Quinn et al 60). The hindbrain is responsible for maintaining balance, movement coordination and conducting sensory information. It also houses medulla oblongata responsible for controlling breathing, heartbeat rate and digestion
The spinal cord is a long fragile tube-like structure running almost the full length of the back. The Spinal cord nerves transmit information from body organs to the brain. Once in the brain, the same information is processed and sent to the rest of the body. Just like the brain, the spinal cord is covered by meninges and contains gray and white matter (Quinn et al 62). The gray matter region is surrounded by white matter that contains axons insulated with myelin which functions as an electrical insulator that enables axons to conduct nerve impulses efficiently.
Disorders of the Central Nervous System
In line with the above, the central nervous system is associated with a number of disorders. They include addiction, Autism, Meningitis, Epilepsy/seizures and Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). First, according to Karina et al, addiction is a disorder of the brains which arises through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms (14). In addition to this, the disorder occurs over time from high levels of exposure to addictive stimulants. Secondly, autism as a disorder is characterized by restricted and repeated pattern of behavior and persistent deficit in social interaction and communication (Karina et al 15). Thirdly, Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) — it affects the brain and spinal cord. In most cases, the disorder is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Signs and symptoms include fever, vomiting, and a stiff neck.
Fourthly,epilepsy/seizuresis an unpredictable fatal disorder of the nervous system caused by faulty electrical activity in the brain. Epileptic seizures is common in recovering patients as a result of brain surgery. Lastly, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an organic disorder of the nervous system which, in severe cases, can be debilitating. Some of the common symptoms of this disorder include impulsiveness, poor planning and trouble multitasking. These symptoms are as a result of structural as well as biochemical imbalances in the brain.
Overall, the central nervous is made of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord. The former is responsible for controlling majority of bodily functions such movements, memory and thoughts. The latter works by relaying the information between the brain and the rest of the body. Some common disorders of the central nervous system include: Autism, addiction, Meningitis, Epilepsy/seizures and Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Ostrom, Quinn T., et al. “CBTRUS statistical report: primary brain and other central nervous system tumors diagnosed in the United States in 2012–2016.” Neuro-oncology 21.Supplement_5 (2019): v1-v100.
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Joppe, Karina, et al. “The contribution of iron to protein aggregation disorders in the central nervous system.” Frontiers in neuroscience 13 (2019): 15.