What is the Central Nervous System?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves in the arms and legs.
The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves in the arms and legs.

The central nervous system (CNS) is one of the two parts of the nervous system. The other is the peripheral nervous system which includes nerves in the organs, muscles, arms, and legs. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord. It is the "control center" for the entire body and regulates how the body will function.

The average brain weighs 3 pounds (1.3 kg) and contains 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. The skull encloses the brain in bone. The brain contains three main areas: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the medulla oblongata. The cerebrum is the conscious part of the brain, while the cerebellum and the medulla oblongata form the part of the brain that controls unconscious behavior.

Neurons are specialized cells in the nervous system that transmit electro-chemical impulses.
Neurons are specialized cells in the nervous system that transmit electro-chemical impulses.

The medulla oblongata, along with the pons, regulates heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, and reflexes such as swallowing and coughing. It is in the part of the brain known as the hindbrain and is nearest to the spinal cord. The cerebellum, connected to the back of the brainstem, is also part of the hindbrain. It coordinates fine motor movement and regulates balance and posture.

The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, receives and transmits signals to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which is composed of the nerves in the organs and muscles of the body.
The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, receives and transmits signals to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which is composed of the nerves in the organs and muscles of the body.

The cerebrum is in the forebrain and relates to the central nervous system functioning of reasoning, intelligence, learning, and memory. It also regulates sensory and motor controls. The cerebrum is the biggest part of the brain and is divided into the left and right hemispheres. The corpus callosum separates the cerebral hemispheres and is made up of nerve fibers.

Much of the sensory and motor control functioning of the central nervous system takes place in the four lobes that make up the brain's cerebral cortex.
Much of the sensory and motor control functioning of the central nervous system takes place in the four lobes that make up the brain's cerebral cortex.

The cerebral cortex is the covering on the brain's two hemispheres. Much of the sensory and motor control functioning of the central nervous system is located in the four divisions of the cerebral cortex lobes. The four divisions are the occipital, temporal, parietal, and frontal lobes.

The occipital lobe relates to the functioning of the eye and its visual messages. The temporal lobe relates to the ear and its processing of sounds. The parietal lobe relates to sensory messages such as taste, touch, pain, pressure, and temperature sensations such as hot or cold. The frontal lobe relates to thought, speech, and motor skills. All four lobes work together to help the body function.

The central nervous system allows human beings to think about and coordinate their movements.
The central nervous system allows human beings to think about and coordinate their movements.

The spinal cord section of the central nervous system connects the brain to the body. It is enclosed by the backbone, or vertebral column. Nerve cells work two ways between the brain and the spinal cord: they carry messages to the brain from the rest of the body and they carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body.

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Discussion Comments

Armas1313

@dbuckley212

Actually, there are certain members of phylum chordata which are invertebrates, but are related to vertebrates. They usually have a central structure of some sort, and behave similar to insects. They also usually live in the water.

dbuckley212

The central nervous system structure is much like a web of interconnected signals running to and fro, and converging on the central areas of the spine and the brain. These areas are the essential framework of all vertebrates, and defines a very large family of living organisms. Mammals, reptiles, and all members of phylum chordata.

Qohe1et

Chiropractors understand the importance of dealing with spinal issues for the well being of a person's life in general. Much of stress and well-being is tied to how much pain someone is feeling and how well they are sleeping. With a bad back, it is not easy to get a good sleep or to feel well. This can even result in psychological issues.

BigBloom

I have experienced some of the worst pain in my life when I have had back issues in the past. This is because much of the nervous system is tied into the spinal chord, and feeling of pain is particularly acute there. It all channels nerves from all over the body into the brain, as well as sending signals for movement.

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    • The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves in the arms and legs.
      The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves in the arms and legs.
    • Neurons are specialized cells in the nervous system that transmit electro-chemical impulses.
      Neurons are specialized cells in the nervous system that transmit electro-chemical impulses.
    • The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, receives and transmits signals to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which is composed of the nerves in the organs and muscles of the body.
      The central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, receives and transmits signals to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system, which is composed of the nerves in the organs and muscles of the body.
    • Much of the sensory and motor control functioning of the central nervous system takes place in the four lobes that make up the brain's cerebral cortex.
      Much of the sensory and motor control functioning of the central nervous system takes place in the four lobes that make up the brain's cerebral cortex.
    • The central nervous system allows human beings to think about and coordinate their movements.
      The central nervous system allows human beings to think about and coordinate their movements.