Central Nervous System: Structure and Functions

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10 Questions

What is the primary function of the cerebrum within the brain?

Overseeing emotions and reasoning

How many pairs of spinal nerves extend from the spinal cord?

31 pairs

Which part of the nervous system is responsible for maintaining balance, posture, and coordination?

Spinal cord

What is the primary function of the central nervous system?

Coordinating motor responses

What is the primary function of sensory (afferent) neurons?

Transmitting information from sensory receptors to the CNS

Which neurotransmitter plays a vital role in the regulation of mood and attention?


Which bodily functions does the CNS regulate?

Digestion and temperature regulation

What is the primary role of interneurons in the CNS?

Connecting sensory and motor neurons to process and interpret information

What is the primary function of motor (efferent) neurons?

Transmitting information from the CNS to muscles and glands

What role do neurotransmitters play in the central nervous system?

Facilitating communication between neurons

Study Notes

Exploring the Central Nervous System: A Comprehensive Guide

The nervous system, a vital component of our body, is responsible for transmitting and processing information. In this article, we'll focus on the subtopic of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord.

Structure of the Central Nervous System

The CNS serves as the primary control center for our body's functions. It comprises the brain and spinal cord, both enclosed in three layers of protective meninges and cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

  • The brain: This complex organ is divided into several regions, each with specific functions. The three primary divisions are the forebrain (cerebrum), midbrain, and hindbrain. The cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, is responsible for higher cognitive functions such as thinking, reasoning, and emotions.
  • The spinal cord: This long, cylindrical structure is responsible for transmitting information between the brain and the rest of the body, with 31 pairs of spinal nerves extending from it.

Functions of the Central Nervous System

The CNS is responsible for:

  • Processing sensory information: The CNS receives and interprets information from our senses, such as sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
  • Coordinating motor responses: The CNS enables us to control our movements, maintaining balance, posture, and coordination.
  • Regulating vital functions: The CNS controls essential bodily functions such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, and temperature regulation.
  • Maintaining consciousness: The CNS sends signals to the brain to preserve wakefulness and arousal, enabling us to interact with our environment.
  • Memory and learning: The CNS plays a crucial role in forming and retrieving memories, as well as learning new information and skills.

Neurons: The Building Blocks of the Central Nervous System

Neurons are specialized cells that transmit electrical signals between different parts of the nervous system. There are three primary types of neurons:

  1. Sensory (afferent) neurons: These neurons transmit information from sensory receptors to the CNS.
  2. Motor (efferent) neurons: These neurons transmit information from the CNS to muscles and glands.
  3. Interneurons: These neurons connect sensory and motor neurons, enabling the CNS to process and interpret information.

Neurotransmitters: The Chemical Messengers of the Central Nervous System

Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that facilitate communication between neurons. Some primary neurotransmitters include:

  • Acetylcholine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Glutamate
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)

These chemical messengers play vital roles in the regulation of mood, attention, learning, and motor function.


The central nervous system is a complex, intricate system that plays a critical role in our daily lives. Understanding the CNS can provide valuable insights into our physical and cognitive capabilities, as well as informing treatments for various neurological disorders. As we continue to learn more about this fascinating system, we can gain a deeper understanding of how our body functions and how we can optimize our health and wellbeing.

Explore the structure and functions of the central nervous system (CNS) including the brain, spinal cord, neurons, and neurotransmitters. Gain insights into how the CNS processes sensory information, coordinates motor responses, regulates vital functions, and more.

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