Published on August 31, 2013
The Nervous system
The Nervous System • Brain • Spinal cord • Nerves • Enables you to control your body • Gives you feedback about the world What does it do? What are its component parts?
Look away if you’re squeamish… A dissected brain, spinal cord and sections of major nerves.
The Cells of the Nervous System - Neurones
The route impulses take
The route impulses take Effectors – Sensory neurone Motor neurone Relay neurones (in brain or spinal cord)
The Spine You don’t need to know any of these little details – just remember that the spinal cord carries messages to and from the brain.
The spine – the message motorway
Effects of a spinal cord injury on breathing • With a spinal cord injury of C4 and higher, all the muscles which control breathing will be paralysed. These are the intracostal muscles, the diaphragm and the abdominal muscles. In order to breathe, the person will need a machine called a ventilator to breath for them. In order to cough, the person will need help by way of a carer performing an assisted cough procedure. • Injuries between C4 and T6 will leave the person able to breathe on their own. However, because the intracostal muscles may be weakened or paralysed depending on the level of injury, breathing may be done solely or mainly by the diaphragm. Again, coughing may also be a problem. • Injuries between T6 and T12 do not normally affect breathing. However the ability to cough will be impaired. • It is only with injuries below T12 that normal breathing and cough reflexes are preserved.
Left: sensory neurone Right: motor neurone
Above: Sensory Neurone Below: Motor Neurone
Diagrams and Drawings in Biology
Not until A-level!
Nerves – bundles of neurones
Close-up of a nerve
Single neurones in cross-section
How Impulses Pass from Neurone to Neurone – the Synapse
Reflex Reactions – bypassing the brain for extra speed
Reflex Reactions Can you think of any? • Startle reflex – moving away, contraction of arm and leg muscles, blinking, breathing changes • Withdrawal reflex – moving away from potentially harmful influences (e.g. high temperature) • Iris reflex – pupil becomes smaller in bright light
Knee Jerk Reflex
Why the knee jerk reflex? • This reflex is quite useful for walking. Every time you put weight on your foot, your muscles contract to support you. Without this reflex, we would all look silly staggering around, having to consciously think about working our muscles for each step, but with the muscles reacting too hopelessly late to be useful. Chewing gum at the same time would be out of the question.
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