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The function of the Nervous System


The Nervous system is made up of nerve cells in the body. There are three main components of the nervous system, each one with its own function:

1. Brain
2. Spinal Cord
3. Peripheral Nerves1

It is due to the nervous system that we communicate with the world outside and at the same time, many mechanisms in our body are controlled by the nervous system. 

The basic function of the nervous system can be divided into 3 parts:
1.  Nervous system takes in sensory information
2.  It processes the information
3.  It triggers reaction such as causing you to feel pain or making your muscle movement2.

The nervous system also controls the metabolic processes of the human body. There are many billions of neurons in the human body. Only the brain has 100 billion neurons in it. The human nervous system has two parts in the human body, each one with its own functions.

1. Central Nervous System
2. Peripheral Nervous System

The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord both of which are protected by the bony structures while all the other nerves in the body are named as the peripheral nervous system3. A distinction can also be made between the voluntary and involuntary nervous system regardless of where they are in the body.
The voluntary system contains all the things that we are aware of and can influence consciously such as moving our legs, arms or other parts of the body.

The involuntary nervous system regulates those processes of the body that we cannot influence consciously such as heart beat, breathing and metabolic processes4 5

The involuntary nervous system of human can be divided into three components:

1. Sympathetic Nervous System
2. Parasympathetic Nervous System
3. Enteric Nervous System6

Sympathetic Nervous System prepares the body to perform in stress conditions while Parasympathetic Nervous System is responsible for bodily function when the body is at rest. Enteric Nervous System autonomously regulates bowel motility in digestion7.

The nervous system also provides another kind of information to the body, for example, how quickly your heart is beating or how full your bladder is? The nervous system can react quickly to changes, for instance, if the body gets too hot, the involuntary nervous system makes you sweat more and increases the blood circulation to cool down your body again8.

7. H.all J, Guyton A. Guyton And Hall Review Of Physiology. Edinburgh: Elsevier Saunders; 2005:557-568.
8. Ganong W. Review Of Medical Physiology. New York: Lange Medical Books; 2005:79-115.

Topics: Nervous System

Dr. Owais Amin

Written by Dr. Owais Amin