What is the CNS?
The central nervous system (CNS) is a complex structure and the main information mechanism of the body, it is present in humans and animals (vertebrates and a significant number of invertebrates), it is intended to process our thoughts and all the information that is obtained through our 5 senses.
It is made up of the brain and spinal cord , which are distinguished by being protected by the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid.
It is linked to the nervous system, which is responsible for obtaining and transmitting stimulus signals in the body, in conjunction with the peripheral nervous system (PNS) formed by sensory nerves and ganglia that are related to the central nervous system.
Central nervous system functions
In the central nervous system , the mental processes that are required to understand the information we obtain from the outside are carried out. In this way, the system is in charge of transmitting certain impulses directly to the nerves and muscles, which is why it directs their movements.
Likewise, the central nervous system depends on the neurons (sensory and motor) that are located in the brain and spinal cord, in order to provoke the precise responses that the body’s stimuli absorb. For this reason, for example, there is the possibility of transforming behavior, even taking into account previous experiences.
The importance of the central nervous system is thanks to the ability to handle bodily functions to develop learning, knowledge , distinguish emotions, among others, essentially developed by humans. In short, the central nervous system gives us the ability to recognize ourselves as individuals, be aware of who we are, and in the same way we do and feel.
Parts of the central nervous system
- Brain: the brain is basically a nerve mass that has been protected by the bones of the skull. The brain is distinguished by the control center of the body, since it regulates sleep, hunger, movements and even emotions (sadness, love, hate, joy, etc.). The brain is made up of the cerebrum , cerebellum, and brain stem.
- Brain: it is considered the most voluminous and important mass of the brain that already carries out various vital functions in vertebrate animals (specifically in humans) and invertebrates, and which in turn is protected by the bones of the skull.
The cerebral cortex is distinguished by being made up of numerous folds composed only of gray matter, under which there is also the white matter, and in the deeper areas the thalamus, the hypothalamus and the caudate nucleus are distinguished. At the same time, two parts of the brain called hemispheres are distinguished, which are: the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere, both are connected by the corpus callosum.
- Cerebellum: The beech cerebellum in the posterior area of the brain, anterior to the brain, and connects to the spinal cord. It deals with relating the sensory pathways and the motor pathways. In this way, there is the possibility of maintaining posture and body balance, as well as coordinating different motor movements, such as walking, speaking, running, writing, among others. Muscle tension also takes place.
- Brain stem : the brain stem or also called the brainstem is the one that relates the brain to the spinal cord, so its function is to control various functions such as breathing or heart rate. The brain stem is made up of:
- Midbrain: manages eye movements and is responsible for regulating the reflexes of the eyes, head and neck.
- Annular bulge: acts as a sensory pathway that carries sensations from the spinal cord to the brain, and vice versa. From this perspective, it is a structure that allows us to maintain body balance.
- Medulla oblongata: controls the heart rate, blood pressure and intercedes in the respiratory rate. It also controls vomiting, swallowing, coughing, and sneezing.
The spinal cord is a canal that runs from the brain through the entire inner part of the spine. It works mainly by transmitting nerve impulses and connects the brain with the rest of the body. It is distinguished by being composed of white matter in the upper part and gray matter in the lower part.
The spinal cord carries out two functions of great importance, the sensory afference that is based on capturing the nervous stimuli that reach the spinal cord, and the afferent is connected with motility, that is, it projects information to the peripheral nervous system.