Central nervous system

Central Nervous System/ Spinal Cord

The central nervous system is one of the two main divisions of the human nervous system. It integrates all nervous function and deals with the information to and from the peripheral nervous system. It is the main network of coordination and control of the entire body. It consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain controls many functions and sensations, such as sleep, muscle movement, hunger, thirst, memory and emotions. The spinal cord contains various types of nerve fibers from the brain and act as a switching relay terminal for the peripheral nervous system.

The spinal cord is the main pathway for the messages traveling between the brain and the rest of the body.  It provides neuron and synapse networks to produce involuntary responses to sensory stimulation. It carries sensory information to the brain and motor information from the brain. Nerve cells of the body branch out to supply every muscle and particle of skin, as well as all of the internal organs. They carry messages from the periphery through the spinal cord to the brain. Similar messages travel back from the brain to the nerve fibers in the muscles to initiate movement.

Any damage in the spinal cord, may it be due to trauma from fall, vehicular accidents and violence will result to a decline in the motor and sensory function of the body. Paralysis/ loss of motor control and sensory function of the four extremities will occur following a spinal cord injury, cervical cord level. “The degree of sensory and motor loss varies depending on the level of the lesion in the spinal cord” (Lewis et al, 2004, p. 1611). The function of the central nervous system was altered as the damage/ injury in the spinal cord inhibited the relay of impulses to and from the brain.

References

Lewis, S. M., Heitkemper, M. M., & Dirksen, S. R. (2004). Medical Surgical Nursing:

          Assessment and Management  of Clinical Problems. St Louis, Missouri: Mosby.

Lipscombe, S. (2003). Encyclopedia of Family Health and First Aid. United Kingdom: Parragon

          Publishing.

 

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