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How does the Nervous System Work?

The nervous system is the most complex system in the human body, which is surrounded by a network of more than hundred billion neurons, assisted by many glial cells. like the processor in a computer, this system works as a data receiving, processing, and transferring Centre for the human body. In brief, this system is also called the body's communication system. By communicating with the different parts of the body, the nervous system performs the daunting task of coordinating all of the body's activities.

How the Nervous System Works?

picture of the nervous system The nervous system functions as an autonomous entity in the body. The basic function of this system is to receive information from the outside world and the body itself to produce appropriate responses for the target parts.

It receives impulse (the electric message or signal) via the millions of nerve cells in the body. These impulses are simultaneously processed within the nervous system to generate fast and accurate response signals so that they can be delivered to the target cells. However, if the received electric message produces low or no value response, the system automatically filters it out.

The nervous system permits fast and specific communication between the brain and broadly spaced parts of the body. This communication process is done by the action of billions of dedicated nerve cells. These cells are called neurons, and they are the basic functioning cells of the nervous system. These cells not only gather and process information but also generate proper response signals to the every part of the body. Each single neuron generating many specialized connections, called synapses, with other neurons and other cells in the body.

However, neurons are unable to run directly from the outer region to the brain. Synapses act as junctions for neuron cells, and they allow nerve impulses to be merged into one or divided up for neurons. They assist neuron cells by passing nerve impulses to targeted destination. Low frequency nerve impulses are also filtered out by synapses.

Divisions of the Nervous System

Anatomically, the nervous system has two subdivisions –

1. Central Nervous System (CNS) - Composed of the cerebrum and cerebellum part of the brain and the long tubular bundles of nerve tissues called as spinal cord.
2. Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) - Consists of the nervous tissues found outer part of the brain and spinal cord - the cranial and spinal nerves and their ganglia.

Functionally, the nervous system is divided into two systems –

1. Somatic Nervous System
2. Autonomic (Visceral) Nervous System

picture of parts of the brain

You might also like:
What are Neurons?
What is the Structure of Neurons?
What are the Functions of Neurons?


Resource and Further Reading:
Dr. Selim Reza (2001). Nervous Tissue and Nervous System. The Essential of Gross Anatomy and Histology, 10th Edition (pp 129-170). Dhaka: Essence Publications.

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