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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the basic parts and functions of the central nervous system
  • Describe the basic parts and functions of the peripheral nervous system

The central nervous system

The central nervous system (CNS)    is made up of the brain and spinal cord and is covered with three layers of protective coverings called meninges    (“meninges” is derived from the Greek and means “membranes”) ( [link] ). The outermost layer is the dura mater, the middle layer is the web-like arachnoid mater, and the inner layer is the pia mater, which directly contacts and covers the brain and spinal cord. The space between the arachnoid and pia maters is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)    . The brain floats in CSF, which acts as a cushion and shock absorber.

Illustration shows the three meninges that protect the brain. The outermost layer, just beneath the skull, is the dura mater. The dura mater is the thickest meninx, and blood vessels run through it. Beneath the dura mater is the arachnoid mater, and beneath this is the pia mater.
The cerebral cortex is covered by three layers of meninges: the dura, arachnoid, and pia maters. (credit: modification of work by Gray's Anatomy)

The brain

The brain is the part of the central nervous system that is contained in the cranial cavity of the skull. It includes the cerebral cortex, limbic system, basal ganglia, thalamus, hypothalamus, cerebellum, brainstem, and retinas. The outermost part of the brain is a thick piece of nervous system tissue called the cerebral cortex    . The cerebral cortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia make up the two cerebral hemispheres. A thick fiber bundle called the corpus callosum    (corpus = “body”; callosum = “tough”) connects the two hemispheres. Although there are some brain functions that are localized more to one hemisphere than the other, the functions of the two hemispheres are largely redundant. In fact, sometimes (very rarely) an entire hemisphere is removed to treat severe epilepsy. While patients do suffer some deficits following the surgery, they can have surprisingly few problems, especially when the surgery is performed on children who have very immature nervous systems.

In other surgeries to treat severe epilepsy, the corpus callosum is cut instead of removing an entire hemisphere. This causes a condition called split-brain, which gives insights into unique functions of the two hemispheres. For example, when an object is presented to patients’ left visual field, they may be unable to verbally name the object (and may claim to not have seen an object at all). This is because the visual input from the left visual field crosses and enters the right hemisphere and cannot then signal to the speech center, which generally is found in the left side of the brain. Remarkably, if a split-brain patient is asked to pick up a specific object out of a group of objects with the left hand, the patient will be able to do so but will still be unable to verbally identify it.

Each hemisphere contains regions called lobes that are involved in different functions. Each hemisphere of the mammalian cerebral cortex can be broken down into four functionally and spatially defined lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital ( [link] ).

Sagittal, or side view of the human brain shows the different lobes of the cerebral cortex. The frontal lobe is at the front center of the brain. The parietal lobe is at the top back part of the brain. The occipital lobe is at the back of the brain, and the temporal lobe is at the bottom center of the brain. The motor cortex is the back of the frontal lobe, and the olfactory bulb is the bottom part. The somatosensory cortex is the front part of the parietal lobe. The brainstem is beneath the temporal lobe, and the cerebellum is beneath the occipital lobe.
The human cerebral cortex includes the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.

Questions & Answers

In the digestive system,what are nucleotides and what is their use
Leo Reply
what is the difference between kidney and liver
Raphael
what's an isomer
marybertiny Reply
is a chemical species with the same number and types of atoms as another chemical species but with distinct properties because rhe atoms are arranged into different chemical structures.
yaad
How are they important to anmals
Leo
immune system protect body from harmful foreign cells
Hira Reply
that's right some time when bacteria attached the body the immune system product
abdala
what is function of the body
Sarat Reply
Body funtion. Our bodies consist of a number of biological systems that carry out specific functions necessary for everyday living. The job of the circulatory system is to move blood, nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and hormones, around the body. It consists of the heart, blood, blood vessels,art
Sayed
what's the function of the lymphatic system
Samuel
how long does it take for food process to reach the deudenum
Braveson
how does it takes for food to digested
Kelliann
how long does it takes for food to digested
Kelliann
what are tissue
Nkeng Reply
what are the difference type of connective tissue
Nkeng
Types of connective tissue 1. Loose connective tissue: a.Areolar connective tissue b.Adipose connective tissue 2. Dense (fibrous) connective tissue: I. Compact tissue a.White fibrous tissue ( tendon and sheath) b.Yellow elastic tissue (Ligament) II. Supporting connective tissue: types- 1. Cartilag
iti
2. Bone III. Fluid or liquid connective tissue: Blood lymph
iti
What is cytoplasm
Uyi Reply
what is cytoplasm
Morgan
a cytoplasm is a fluid found inside the cell membrane which contains dissolved minerals e.t.c.
Fortune
ok
Morgan
why is the the mitochondria known as the power house?
Fortune
The mitochondria is involved in releasing energy from food..this process is known as cellular respiration.
Sherice
ok
Fortune
what is Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)?
Jackson
is a molecule composed of two chains.
Fortune
is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying the genetics instructions used in growth,development e.t.c.
Fortune
Thanks
Jackson
structur of the heart
Munyah Reply
hi
Unimke
Hello
Mariam
miss Mariam u are welcome
Emmanuel
hello
wana
hii
Dein-aboh
hi
Wani
how
Renzo
hello every one
BOBO
hello
iti
hello
Hilmi
hello
Eshiemoghie
hi
Vaishnavi
what is mutation?
Oliver
Hi to everybody
Hussein
essay for photosynthesis
NiCho Reply
essay of the human body
NiCho
how do female menstrual uterus prepare for fertilisation?
Jackson
what is blood pressure
Sid Reply
to my understanding blood pressure is where u are shock with something emergency I think that can also course blood pressure
Badu
what is the meaning of extended family
Shellyann Reply
extended family is two are more nuclear family living together under one roof
Nordalee
what is genetic engineering
Ebot Reply
good day please what is a cell?
Colota Reply
cell is the basic unit of all living things/organism
Hassan
differenciate b/w cilia and flagellum
Abshira
Cilia: 1. They are smaller in number. 2. Cilia usually occur throughout or major part of the surface of a cell. 3. They beat oar like and in a co-ordinated rhythm 4. Cilia help in locomotion, feeding, circulation, etc.. 5. Example: Paramecium
iti
Flagella: 1. They are larger in size. ADVERTISEMENTS: 2. Flagella are commonly found at one end of the cell. 3. The flagella beat whip-like and independently. 4. Flagella help in locomotion. 5. Example: Euglena
iti
smallest structural and functional unit of an organism!
zidane
cell is the basic unit of all living things
Lukman
A cell is a basic unit of life
Badu
please I want to know the meaning of Tissues
Badu
hellooo here
Ebot
h2
Oliver
meaning of dispesing
Oliver
thnk u iti
Abshira
tissue is a group of identical cells having common origin
iti
what is the word? dispensing or dispersing...check the spelling of the word.
iti
dispersing
Oliver
Smaller in size not in number
Md
They are small in size and more in number
Md
Not identical but similar
Md
 cell is the smallest unit of life. Cellsare often called the "building blocks of life". The study of cells is called cellbiology. Cells consist of cytoplasm enclosed within a membrane, which contains many biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids.
Harun
hi
Vaishnavi
how are u doing
Emmanuel
this thing I don't know whether is an instruments use to measure pressure Sphygmomanometer is it true or not because in my formal school that's my master told me
Badu
dispersing means distribution or spreading
iti
sphygmomanometer is used for measuring blood pressure
iti
thanks
Oliver
mention the functions of mitochondria?
Oliver
mitochondria is the powerhouse of cell. it generates and stores energy in the form of ATP molecules in its oxysomes. it has its own DNA so its capable of self replicating and hence also called as semi autonomous organelle
iti
welcome
iti
explain briefly anatomy
Oliver
anatomy is thr study of internal structures and their organization as well as functions of living organisms
iti
OK thanky
Oliver
Yes
Hilmi
Good
Moses
welcome
iti
differenciate b/w red blood cell and whight blood cell
BOBO
d
Wani
what is homeostasis
alex Reply
the ability of an organism to maintain stable internal environment, even when the external environment changes
Bee
what's the function of the hypothalamus
Agyekum
The hypothalamus is apart of the lower middle brain that tells the pituitary glands when to release hormones
taehyunggg
what is homeostasis
Edward Reply
constant maintenance of internal body temperature
Agyekum
What is the function of the Pituitary Gland?
WeNdlovu
how can homeostasis be maintained?
alex
pituitary gland also known as the master gland secretes hormones which triggers other gland to secretes their hormones
Agyekum
what's the full meaning of DNA and RNA
Deborah Reply
DNA is Deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA means Ribonucleic acid
Christian

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Source:  OpenStax, Human biology. OpenStax CNX. Dec 01, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11903/1.3
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