Nerve cells, or neurons, receive electrochemical signals, process them and transmit them to other cells. Most often, these are other neurons, but nerve cells signal muscle cells and other active cells of the body as well. Sensory nerve cells also react to their environments, sending signals to the central nervous system in response to changes.
Nerve cells have four basic parts. Each has a branching series of receivers, called dendrites, that detect incoming nerve impulses or other changes to the environment. The cell body contains the nucleus and processes the stimulus to send out its own signal. This signal is sent out along the axon, a long, sometimes very long, extension of the cell that acts as a wire for the signal. The axon ends with what is known as the terminal bundle, which interacts with the next nerve cell in the chain.
Nerve cells transmit signals via a chain reaction of electron action potentials. Certain charged particles move in and out of the axon in a rapid chain reaction. This action is very fast, although not as fast as a normal electrical current traveling through a metal wire. However, to transmit coherently over a long distance, the axons need to be insulated like a wire. Myelin sheaths, made of cholesterol-type compounds, serve this purpose.Learn More
Impingement of a nerve between the L5 and S1 vertebrae indicates the structure is placing pressure on the nerve root. According to the Laser Spine Institute, this is one of the most common of all pinched nerves.Full Answer >
Reading enhances connectivity in the brain, improves brain function and also improves theory of mind — the understanding that people may have beliefs and values different from the reader's own. A study conducted at Emory University and published in the journal "Brain Connectivity" first detailed some of these positive effects on the brain.Full Answer >
According to the University of Washington, the nervous systems works with other body systems by sending commands to the other systems and receiving information back from them. Additionally, some of the body’s systems and structures, such as the vertebrae and skull, help to protect the central nervous system.Full Answer >
The major regions of the midbrain are the tectum and the tegmentum. These parts of the brain and their divisions are responsible for motivation and the regulation of the auditory and visual systems.Full Answer >