Facts & Functions
Nerves: the body’s “electrical wiring” consisting of cylindrical bundles of fibres starting at the brain and central cord, and branching out to every other part of the body. It is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells (neurons) transmitting signals between different parts of the body.
Central nerve system – the brain, spinal cord and nerves.
Peripheral nerve system containing sensory neurons, ganglia (clusters of neurons) and nerves that connect to one another and to the central nerve system. Neurons send signals to other cells through thin fibres which cause chemicals to be released at junctions called synapses. A synapse gives a command to the cell – and the entire communication process typically takes only a fraction of a millisecond.
Sensory neurons react to physical stimuli such as light, sound and touch. They send feedback to the central nerve system about the body’s surrounding environment.
Motor neurons located in the central nerve system transmit signals to activate muscles or glands.
Glial cells are specialized cells that support, protect or nourish nerve cells,
The nerve system has 2 main subdivisions:
Autonomic (involuntary) nerve system enables body processes such as blood pressure, breathing, blinking etc. to work without conscious effort.
Somatic (voluntary) nerve system consists of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord with muscles and sensory receptors in the skin, enabling conscious movement.