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central nervous system (CNS)

brain and spinal cord


protion of the central nervous system contained within the cranium


largest portion of the brain; divided into right and left halves, know as cerebral hemispheres, that are connected by a bridge of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum; lobes of the cerebrum are named after the skull bones they underlie

frontal lobe

anterior section of each cerebral hemisphere responsible for voluntary muscle movement and personality

parietal lobe

protion posterior to the frontal lobe, responsible for sensations such as pain, temperature, and touch

temporal lobe

portion that lies below the frontal lobe, responsible for hearing, taste, and smell

occipital lobe

protion posterior to the parietal and temporal lobes, responsible for vision

cerebral cortex

outer layer of the cerebrum consisting of gray matter, responsible for higher mental functions (cortex = bark)

thalamus (diencephalon)

each of two gray matter nuclei deep within the brain responsible for relaying sensory information to the cortex


convolutions (mounds) of the cerebral hemispheres


shallow grooves that seperate gyri


deep grooves in the brain


protion of the brain located belowe the occipital lobes of the cerebrum, responsible for control and coordinationof skeletal muscles


region of the brain that serves as a relay between the cerebrum, cerebellum, and spinal cord; responsible for breathing, heart rate, and body temperature; the three levels are the mesencephalon (midbrain), pons, and medulla oblongata


series of interconnected cavities within the cerebral hemisphere and brainstem filled with cerebrospinal fluid

cerebrospinal fluid

plasma like clear fluid circulationg in and around the brain and spinal cord

spinal cord

column of nervous tissue from the brainstem through the vertebrae, responsible or nerve conducion to and from the brain and the body


three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, consisting of the sura mater, pia mater, and arachnoid mater

peripheral nervous system (PNS)

nerves that branch from the central nervous system, including nerves of the brain (cranial nerves) and spinal cord (spinal nerves)

cranial nerves

12 pairs of nerves arising from the brain

spinal nerves

31 pairs of nerves arising from the spinal cord

sensory nerves

nerves that conduct impulses from body parts and carry sensory information to the brain; also called afferent nerves (ad = toward; ferre = carry)

motor nerves

nerves that conduct morter impulses from the brain to muscles and glands; also called efferent nerves (e = out; ferre = carry)

autonomic nervous system (ANS)

nerves that carry involuntary impulses to smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and various glands


control center for the autonomic nervous sustem located below the thalamus (diencephalon)

sympathetic nervous system

division of the ANS concerned primarily with preparing the body in stressful or emergency situations

parasympathetic nervous system

division of the ANS that is most active in ordinary conditions; it counterbalances the effects of the sympathetic system by restoring the body to a restful state after a stressful experience

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