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1

Anatomy of Nervous System

The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves and may be divided into two parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is made up of cranial nerves, which carry impulses between the brain and neck and head, and spinal nerves, which carry messages between the spinal cord and abdomen, limbs and chest.

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Function of Nervous System

The nervous system forms a complex communication system allowing for the coordination of body functions and activities. As a whole, the nervous system is designed to detect changes inside and outside the body, to evaluate this sensory information, and send directions to muscle or glands in response. This system also provides for mental activities such as thought, memory and emotions.

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brain

contained within the cranium, the center for coordinating body activities

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cerebrum

largest portion of the brain, divided into left and right hemispheres. The cerebrum controls the skeletal muscle, interprets general senses (such as temp., pain, and touch), and contains centers for sight and hearing. Intellect, memory, and emotional reactions also take place in the cerebrum

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ventricles

spaces within the brain that contain fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid flows through the subarachnoid space around the brain and spinal cord.

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cerebellum

located under the posterior portion of the cerebrum. Its function is to assist in the coordination of skeletal muscles and to maintain balancee (also called hindbrain)

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brainstem

stemlike portion of the brain that connects with the spinal cord. 10 of the 12 cranial nerves orginate in the brainstem.

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pons

literally means bridge. It connects the cerebrum with the cerebellum and brainstem

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medulla oblongata

located between the pons and spinal cord. It contains the centers that control respiration, heart rate, and the muscles in the blood vessel walls, which assist in determning blood pressure

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midbrain

most superior portion of the brainstem

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cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

clear, odorless fluid contained in the ventricles that flows through the subarachnoid space around the brain and spinal cord. It cushions the brain and spinal cord from shock, transports nutrients and clears metabolic waste.

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spinal cord

passes through the vertebral canal extending from the medulla oblongata to the level of the second lumbar vertebra. The spinal cord conducts nerve impulses to and from the brain and initiates reflex action to sensory information without input from the brain

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meninges

three layers of membrane that cover the brain and spinal cord

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dura mater

tough outer layer of the meninges

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arachnoid

delicate middle layer of the meninges. It is loosely attached to the pia mater by weblike fibers, which allow for the subarachnoid space.

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pia mater

thin inner layer of the meninges

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nerve

cordlike structure made up of fibers that carries impulses from one part of the body to another. There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves

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ganglion (pl. ganglia)

group of nerve cell bodies located outside the central nervous system

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glia

specialized cells that support and nourish nervous tissue. Some cells assist in the secretion of cerebrospinal fluid and others assist with phagocytosis. they do not conduct impulses. three types of glia are astroglia, oligodendroglia, and microglia (also called neuroglia)

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neuron

a nerve cell that conducts nerve impulses to carry out the function of the nervous system. Destroyed neurons cannot be replaced

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cerebell/o

cerebellum

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cerebr/o

cerebrum, brain

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dur/o

hard, dura mater

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encephal/o

brain

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gangli/o, ganglion/o

ganglion

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gli/o

glia, gluey substance

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mening/o, meningi/o

meninges

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neur/o

nerve

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radic/o, radicul/o, rhiz/o

nerve root (proximal end of a peripheral nerve, closest to the spinal cord)

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esthesi/o

sensation, sensitivity, feeling