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Human Nervous System

The Human Nervous System controls voluntary and involuntary actions using the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord and serves as the main control center. The peripheral nervous system consists of the associated nerve networks, whose function is to connect parts of the body with to CNS. The PNS is divided into the autonomic nervous system, which controls the involuntary activities like digestion and breathing, whilst the somatic nervous system controls voluntary actions by transmitting stimuli information to the CNS, and sending back response signals to muscles. The autonomic nervous system is further divided into the sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric nervous system – sympathetic nervous system deals with fight-or-flight signals, parasympathetic maintains body conditions, and enteric nervous system oversees gastrointestinal functions. The divisions of the Nervous System are displayed in the diagram:


There are two types of nerves in the PNS, which are sensory and motor neurons. Sensory neurons carry information from receptors that detect stimuli in the surrounding environment to the motor neurons. The motor neurons are located in the spinal cord, it transfers signals from sensory neurons to the brain, and back to effector muscles to produce a response. Neurons communicate to each other by releasing neurotransmitters at axons, which travel through the synapse to bind to receptors on the dendrites of the adjacent neuron – this creates an action potential. There are two types of receptors, voltage-gated ion channels and second messenger systems. When the voltage of the post-synaptic membrane reaches the threshold, the voltage-gated ion channels open selectively allowing specific ions to enter. In second messenger systems, molecular alterations take place which increase or decrease the cell sensitivity to a certain stimuli.

A reflex arc is when a stimuli-associated signal is transported to the motor neuron in the spinal cord by the sensory neuron, it bypasses the brain and the motor neuron then sends a signal to effector muscles to respond. An example is when a hand responds to a heat source, and withdraws immediately.

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week 12

Identify a drug, either natural or man-made, that affects the ANS; Identify the receptor affected by the drug; Describe that receptor's normal function; Describe how the drug affects that receptor's normal function on a molecular scale; Describe the physiological effect the drug has on the patient and what condition

Central Nervous System

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Multiple Sclerosis MS

You will select and explore a behavioral condition or other CNS pathology. In the book, Neurobehavioral Anatomy on your ebrary bookshelf, you will find chapters that investigate various behavioral pathologies. I recommend beginning here to find your topic. Additional topics may include: Depression Post-traumatic stress

Anatomy and Physiology of Breast Cancer

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Action Potential and Ion Regulation

Describe the events that must occur to generate an action potential. Indicate how the ionic gates are controlled, explain why the action potential is an all-or-none phenomenon.

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Nervous System Questions

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The Function of Neurotransmitters

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Nervous system

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