You probably know that the nervous system is the control tower of the human body. You also likely know that it consists of the brain and spinal cord. What you may not know is that it is both a strange and brilliant coordination of functions.
Fun Fact #1
The brain and spinal cord partner to perform tasks, however, the spinal cord can work independently. Our reflex response to touching a hot surface is an example of the spinal cord operating independently.
The nervous system is the maestro that directs every twitch of the human body. It is responsible for both conscious actions and those which occur with no thought. It accomplishes this with a complex network of nerves that extend from the brain and spinal cord. Those which originate in the brain are called the cranial nerves, and those that branch from the spinal cord are the spinal nerves.
Fun Fact #2
The CNS is connected to parts of the body through 43 pairs of cells, and 12 of these are connected to the brain
It is estimated that the nervous system contains billions of neurons, which are nerve cells. These cells consist of a cell body, dendrites (or “arms”), and a long fiber which projects from the cell. The projecting fiber is referred to as the axon.
Fun Fact #3
Axons allow the transmission of electrical signals at a rate of 2,500 per second.
These signals switch to different circuits through chemicals that flow across gaps in neuron junctions. Neuron junctions are known as synapses. The electrical insulation of axons is achieved with a protective sheath that contains a fatty substance, referred to as myelin, which surrounds the fiber.
Fun Fact #4
The spinal cord has an average length of only19 inches, but contains over 10 million neurons.
Fun Fact #5
Neurons are the largest cells in the entire body.
Nerves are composed of axons. Axons are responsible for communication in the body. Sensory receptors utilize them to pass messages to the CNS.
Fun Fact #6
Messages travel at a speed of 180 MPH.
The CNS uses axons to communicate with muscles and cause movement. The CNS also manages memory, reasoning, creative thought, and the release of hormones.
Fun Fact #7
Brain control is actually the opposite of what would be expected. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.
Fun Fact #8
Sodium ions and potassium are essential for a well-functioning nervous system. Vitamin B has also been shown to support a healthy nervous system.
The ability of the nervous system to repair itself is limited. Its vulnerable nature is one of the reasons it is housed within the skeletal system. It is also compromised by biological disorders, infection, and the effects of aging. It is difficult for medical professionals to manage the area of malfunctions due to the complexity of the CNS.
Fun Fact #9
Though the brain is composed of millions of cells, only 4% are active. 96% of the brain’s cells are in a resting phase and exist as reserves.
The CNS cannot yet be properly studied in isolation. However, researchers have been able to gather valuable data. Some of this data has applications in the area of the treatment of mood disorders. Among other things, they have learned that one single hiccup in CNS message transmission can result in a wide variety of events in the body like odd behavior, physical reactions, and mental disturbances.
Fun Fact #10
There are more neurons in the human brain than there are human beings on earth.