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The nervous system is in charge. It controls and coordinates the parts of your body so that they work together at the right time. The nervous system coordinates things you don't even think about, like breathing and blinking.


The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord connected to different parts of the body by nerves. Your bodys sense organs contain receptors. Receptors detect changes in the environment called stimuli. Nose sensitive to chemicals in the air. Mouth sensitive to chemicals in food. Ears sensitive to sound and balance. Skin sensitive to touch, pressure and temperature. Eyes sensitive to light The receptors send messages along nerves to the brain and spinal cord in response to stimuli from the environment. The messages are called nerve impulses. The CNS sends nerve impulses back along nerves to effectors, which bring about movement, or glands that secrete hormones. The central nervous system is divided into two parts: the brain and the spinal cord.

Brain Strutures

Cerebral Cortex Thought Voluntary movement Language


Brain stem

Movement Balance Posture

Breathing Heart Rate Blood Pressure


Reasoning Perception

The spinal cord is the main pathway for information connecting the brain and peripheral nervous system.

Nerves are made up of nerve cells or neurones. There are three types of neurones: sensory, relay and motor neurones. Neurones have a nucleus, cytoplasm, and cell membrane, but they have changed their shape and become specialised.



The sensory neurones receive messages from the receptors and send them to the CNS. The motor neurones send messages from the CNS to effectors telling them what to do. Nerve impulses travel in one direction only. The fatty sheath is for insulation and for speeding up nerve impulses. A relay neurone connects the sensory neurone to the motor neurone in the CNS.

In between the neurones there is a gap called a synapse. When an impulse reaches the end of an axon, a chemical is released. This chemical diffuses across the gap. This starts an impulse in the next neurone. Drugs and alcohol can affect synapses, slowing down or even stopping them from functioning properly.


The reflex response to your CNS and back again can be shown in a diagram called the reflex arc. 1.The stimulus in this example is a sharp object. 2.The receptor is the pain sensor in the skin. 3.The nerve impulse travels along the sensory neurone. 4.The impulse is passed across a synapse to the relay neurone. 5.The impulse is passed across a synapse to the motor neurone. 6.The impulse is passed along a synapse to the muscle effector in the arm. 7.You move your hand away. The reflex arc can be shown in a block diagram below: stimulus receptor sensory neurone relay neurone motor neurone effector response


Voluntary actions are things you have to think about, they are under conscious control. They have to be learned, like talking or writing. Reflex actions produce rapid involuntary responses and often protect us and other animals from harm. Examples include reflex actions in a new born baby, the pupils response to light, the knee-jerk reflex and blinking. Simple reflex actions help animals survive - as they respond to a stimulus, such as smelling and finding food or avoidance of predators. In certain circumstances, the brain can override a reflex response. For example, when holding a hot plate, the brain sends a message to the motor neurone in the reflex arc to keep hold of the plate and not to drop it.

THE HUMAN BODY, NERVOUS SYSTEM The Nervous System: the brain, . ., and nerves, is a living communications network carrying various kinds of messages to and from the different parts of your body. The .. .. is composed of nerve fibers that conduct .. into your spinal chord and .., and the other nerve fibers that send information out to different parts of your ... The cells that make up the various parts of the nervous system are called . Each neuron has a , a part of the cell which contains a .. and other structures. But a typical has two other kinds of structures: long . that extend in different directions from the body of the cell. These fibers are often wrapped with a fatty substance called . Fibers that carry . toward the neuron body are called ... Fibers that carry .. away are called .. Different structures are concentrated in different parts of the body. Some .. are bound into clusters called ganglia. They are often associated with your spinal chord. The spinal cord is a long cylinder of . . that passes through the hollow channels of bones called the .. The spinal chord is protected by those .. It is also protected by . membranes called meninges.