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Mapping the Mind: Insights into the Nervous System

The neural system, also known as the nervous system, is a complex network of neurons with specific roles in message delivery. Comprising of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, it serves as the central nervous system of our body. The nervous system functions by transmitting electrical signals, or messages, from the brain to every other organ of the body. These signals instruct us to breathe, move, speak and see. Nervous system balance complicated processes like thoughts and memory. It is also crucial for the automatic bodily functions including blushing, perspiration, and blinking.

Figure: Diagram of the Human Nervous System

The Functions of the Nervous System

The primary job of the nervous system is to communicate with our body by sending messages to and from our brain to different areas of our body, telling them what to do. Some of its primary functions include:

1. Sensory Processing: The nervous system receives input from sensory receptors located throughout the body, such as the eyes, ears, skin, and internal organs. It processes this sensory information to generate perceptions of the external world and internal bodily states.

2. Motor Control: Through motor neurons, the nervous system controls voluntary and involuntary movements, allowing us to interact with our environment, maintain posture, and execute complex actions.

3. Homeostasis Regulation: The system also plays a central role in maintaining the homeostasis, the body’s internal equilibrium, by regulating physiological parameters such as body temperature, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.

4. Cognitive Functions: The brain is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as learning, memory, reasoning, and language. These abilities enable us to adapt to new situations, solve problems, and communicate effectively.

5. Emotional Regulation: The nervous system also influences our emotional experiences and responses by modulating neurotransmitter levels and neural activity in regions of the brain associated with emotions.

Mechanisms of the Nervous System

The neural system in the human body combines the functions of several organs according to the stimuli that the neurons pick up on and relay. They communicate with and through the sense organs by sending electrical signals. Therefore, the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and sensory organs all play a role in neurological coordination. To transfer impulses, or messages, throughout our body, the nervous system uses neurons. These electrical signals travel among our brain, skin, organs, glands and muscles.

The signals facilitate limb movement and the perception of pain. Environmental information is taken in via the eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and nerves throughout the body. The info is then sent to and from our brain by nerves.

The human nervous system, one of the most intricate organ systems to have ever evolved, is divided into two sections:

  1. Central Nervous System (Which are consists of the brain and spinal cord)
  2. Peripheral Nervous System (Contains all the nerves of the body)
Figure: The central and peripheral nervous systems

Central Nervous System (CNS)

The body’s central nervous system (CNS) is frequently referred to as its central processing unit. The brain and spinal cord comprise it.


One of the most significant, biggest, and central organs of the human neurological system is the brain. It functions as the nervous system’s control unit and aids in learning new things, memory and comprehension, decision-making, and many other processes. It is protected frontally, laterally, and dorsally by being enclosed within the skull.

There are three main components that make up the human brain;

  • Forebrain: The front part of the brain, consists of Cerebrum, Hypothalamus and Thalamus.
  • Midbrain: The tinier and central part of the brainstem, consists of Tectum and Tegmentum.
  • Hindbrain: The Cerebellum, Medulla, and Pons comprise the central portion of the brain.
Figure: Human Brain Anatomy

Spinal Cord

All bodily parts are connected to the brain by the spinal cord, a cylindrical bundle of nerve fibers and related tissues that is housed inside the spine. It starts at the medulla and moves downward from there. It is encased in a bone cage known as the vertebral column and has meninges around it. The transmission of nerve impulses to and from the brain, as well as spinal reflex actions, are the functions of the spinal cord.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

The lateral portion of the nervous system that emerges from the central nervous system and links various body regions to the central nervous system is known as the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Peripheral nerves assist us in both voluntary and involuntary acts.

The PNS is composed of two types of nerve fibers;

  1. Afferent nerve fibers – These are capable for transmitting messages from tissues and organs to the CNS.
  2. Efferent nerve-fibers – These are in charge of sending signals from the central nervous system to the relevant peripheral organ.

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) can be classified into two main divisions;

1.Somatic neural system (SNS): By sending impulses from the central nervous system to the skeletal muscle cells, the neural system regulates the body’s voluntary movements. It is made up of somatic nerves.

2. Autonomic neural system (ANS): The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary behaviors such as bodily processes (digestion, respiration, salivation, etc.). The CNS sends impulses to the smooth muscles and involuntary organs through this self-regulating system (heart, bladder and pupil).

The nervous system stands as an intricate masterpiece of biological complexity, serving as the fundamental orchestrator of vital functions crucial for human existence and consciousness. Its role spans from the processing of sensory input to the regulation of bodily functions and the facilitation of learning and memory. In essence, the nervous system serves as the backbone shaping our thoughts, behaviors, and overall experiences.

As our comprehension of the nervous system deepens, so too does our admiration for its extraordinary capabilities and its profound impact on human health and well-being. Through relentless dedication to research and innovation, we endeavor to unravel the mysteries inherent in the nervous system. This pursuit aims to uncover new insights and develop innovative therapies aimed at addressing the myriad of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Ultimately, our collective efforts strive to enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by these conditions.