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Level 13

Nervous system


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Central nervous system
Division of the nervous system comprising the brain and spinal cord
Peripheral nervous system
Division of the nervous system comprising somatic, peripheral, and autonomic nerves
Autonomic nervous system
Division of the nervous system through which automatic functions such as heart rate and pupil dilation are regulated.
Parasympathetic division
Division of the autonomic nervous system which controls resting functions such as digestion, kidney function etc.
Sympathetic division
Part of the autonomic nervous system responsible for 'fight or flight' processes: increasing heart rate, shutting down non-essential functions etc.
Somatic nervous system
Division of the peripheral nervous system involved in the execution of voluntary muscular activity.
Central canal
Hole at the centre of the spinal cord when seen in transverse section.
Grey horns
Radiations forming extremities of the 'butterfly' of grey matter of the spinal cord in transverse section.
Spinal nerves
Mixed nerves (afferent, efferent, autonomic) which pass from the spinal cord through the intervertebral foramina into the body.
Dorsal root
Posterior attachment of spinal nerve to the posterior gray horns of the spinal cord, containing afferent nerves.
Ventral root
Anterior attachment of spinal nerve to the anterior gray horns of the spinal cord, containing efferent nerves.
Dorsal root ganglion
Swelling of dorsal root within the intervertebral foramen, containing the soma of the spinal nerves.
Meninges
Layers of tissue which cover the nervous tissue of the brain and spinal cord
Dura mater
Outer meningeal layer formed of tough connective tissue.
Arachnoid mater
Central meningeal layer, superficial to the cerebrospinal fluid.
Pia mater
Deepest meningeal layer, which adheres to the parenchyma of central nervous tissue.
Cervical enlargement
Expansion of the spinal cord at the neck due to increased connections with upper extremities.
Lumbar enlargement
Expansion of the spinal cord at the lower back due to increased connections with lower extremities.
Conus medullaris
End of the spinal cord, around the top of the lumbar spine in adults.
Cauda equina
Extension of neural fibres inferior to the conus medullaris.
Filum terminale
Tissue anchoring the caudal spinal cord to the coccyx.
Plexus
A group of adjacent spinal nerves associated by a web-shape, groups being: cervical; brachial; lumbar; and sacral.
Cervical nerves
The eight most superior pairs of spinal nerves, innervating the neck and arms
Thoracic nerves
Group of spinal nerves originating caudally to the cervical nerves and rostrally to the lumbar nerves
Lumbar nerves
Five pairs of spinal nerves inferior to the thoracic nerves.
Sacral nerves
Five pairs of spinal nerves inferior to the lumbar nerves.
Coccygeal nerves
The most inferior pair of spinal nerves.
Dermatomes
Bands of skin innervated by different spinal nerves, used in assessing damage to the spinal cord.
Subarachnoid space
Space deep to the arachnoid mater through which cerebrospinal fluid is conducted