7 Facts about the Nervous System and How It Works ...


It’s important to know facts about the nervous system because it affects every one of us. Plus, you gain so much appreciation for how your body works to take care of you without a second thought. Our bodies are programmed in a way to send messages from cell to cell to get the best result. So here are some facts about the nervous system that I think everyone should know.

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Central Nervous System

An interesting fact about the nervous system is that it is divided into two main parts. The central nervous system (CNS) is comprised of the brain and the spine. I like to remember this by its central location in my body. The CNS is in charge of bringing messages from the body to the brain and back to the body.


Peripheral Nervous System

The second part of the nervous system is the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS deals with all the messages from the organs, muscles, and other parts of the body to the CNS so that the brain can register the message. For example, the PNS fires the message from your hand to your brain that the stove is hot and the CNS releases the command to pull your hand away.


PNS: Autonomic Nervous System

The PNS is divided into two parts, the first of which is the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Some bodily functions are not voluntary, such as the beating of your heart and the rate of your digestion. You can’t control your heartbeat or tell your stomach to digest faster. Involuntary functions like these are part of the ANS. The benefit of the ANS is so that you don’t need to remind yourself to breathe or else you would die.


PNS: Somatic Nervous System

The somatic nervous system (SoNS) deals with voluntary movement, such as your arms and legs. You can tell your leg to move forward. Granted, it’s more of sending a message to move forward than asking it to. But the benefit of the SoNS is that the muscles and bones are connected and work together for fine motor movement. Cool, right?



Neurons carry the messages from cell to cell in the nervous system. Neurons are made up of a dendrite that accepts the message from the previous cell, sends it through the cell body so that the cell receives the message, and directs the message down the axon so that it can jump over the synaptic gap to the next cell’s dendrite. An easy way to visualize this is by thinking of the game “Whisper Down the Lane.” Just as each person turns to tell the message they heard to the next, so too does the message travel from neuron to neuron. I find it incredible that our body can do this so fast.

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When your nervous system is compromised, you may develop diseases. The myelin sheath coats the axon in each neuron for protection and to speed up the delivery time of the message. When the myelin sheath is frail or unable to perform its function, then you develop Parkinson's. Other common nervous system diseases are ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s disease. It’s important to stay clear of infections that can affect the nervous system, such as meningitis, because it could be fatal.


Sides of the Brain

Each side of the brain affects one side the body. The twist comes in because it affects the opposite side of the body. For example, if you need to move your right hand, the left hemisphere of your brain sends the message. Sometimes this fun fact about the nervous system slips my mind but it does affect us in many ways. If you have a stroke on the right hemisphere of your brain, then the left side of your body will be affected.

The nervous system is pretty complex. I hope that learning the basics about the nervous system and how it works helps you appreciate more what your body does to perform actions from walking to breathing. What did you learn?

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Love you guys doing bio reports but I think you should stress that the neuron is the cell. The cells are called neurons, have cytoplasmic extensions called dendrites etc etc, just to clear it up. That being said I am really happy this app is publishing biology related articles and can't wait for more to come

Maybe indirectly and not necessarily?

Hi the central nervous system only takes messages from receptors then it gets processed at the integration center and is carried out to the body by the peripheral nervous system

I have MS & I know first hand what can, & will, do to the central nervous system. MS tricks your central nervous system into believing that there is a virus in the body constantly, making the immune system run in high gear constantly, whether there is a virus or not. On the positive side, when the immune system realizes that there is truly a virus & where in the body it is, the illness is attacked so hard that you get a highly accellerl

Accelerated illness healing, thereby getting sicker faster but getting well faster @ the same time. On the bad side, when there is no illness the MS incorrectly identifies the myelin coating on your neurons as the illness. When the myelin is attacked often enough, the neurons become raw & then they become damaged enough that the messages become short circuited, eventually stops going to the correct place in the body completely & becomes re-routed to someplace else in the body. Sometimes your body can re-route around the damaged spot to reconnect to the correct spot but that takes a lot of work & determination. You have heard of training your brain to becoming smarter &/of becoming a Better student but there really are ways to re-train your brain to "self-correct" the neuron pathways, you just have to find them. I have found that hidden object games as well as memory matching games & connect three games really do the job for me. What are your re-training games?

I'm pretty sure we learned all this in high school.

Just curious, but I didn't think the myelin sheath had to do with Parkinson's. I definitely know and agree that it's the cause of MS though

You have points 1 & 2 switched around.

Should include a point on neural plasticity, THAT is an interesting thing most ppl are unaware if

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