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Biology LibreTexts

11: Nervous System

  • Page ID
    16787
  • This chapter describes neurons and other cells of the nervous system and compares and contrasts divisions of the nervous system, including central, peripheral, somatic, and autonomic divisions. The chapter explains how nerve impulses occur and how we sense stimuli. It also describes disorders of the nervous system and the effects of psychoactive drugs on the nervous system.

    • 11.1: Case Study - The Control Center of Your Body
      Each of these brightly-colored sticky notes represents a piece of information that someone doesn’t want to forget. Although we are all forgetful sometimes, most people do not have trouble remembering things that are important or routine to us, such as our friend’s name or how to get to class.
    • 11.2: Introduction to the Nervous System
      As you drive into a parking lot, a boy on a skateboard suddenly flies in front of your car across your field of vision. You see the boy in the nick of time and react immediately. You slam on the brakes and steer sharply to the right — all in the blink of an eye. You avoid a collision, but just barely. You’re shaken up but thankful that no one was hurt. How did you respond so quickly? Such rapid responses are controlled by your nervous system.
    • 11.3: Neurons and Glial Cells
      Neurons, also called nerve cells, are electrically excitable cells that are the main functional units of the nervous system. Their function is to transmit nerve impulses. They are the only type of human cells that can carry out this function.
    • 11.4: Nerve Impulses
      This amazing cloud-to-surface lightning occurred when a difference in electrical charge built up in a cloud relative to the ground.
    • 11.5: Central Nervous System
      This very odd-looking drawing is called a homunculus. The greenish mass represents a cross-sectional wedge of the human brain.
    • 11.6: Peripheral Nervous System
      Did you ever see two people play the same piano? How do they coordinate all the movements of their own fingers, let alone synchronize them with those of their partner? The peripheral nervous system plays an important part in this challenge.
    • 11.7: Human Senses
      This figure appears at first glance to be just a pattern of colored leaves, but hidden within it is the three-dimensional shape of an ant.
    • 11.8: Psychoactive Drugs
      Who knew that a cup of coffee could also be a work of art? A talented barista can make coffee look as good as it tastes. If you are a coffee drinker, you probably know that coffee can also affect your mental state.
    • 11.9: Case Study Memory Conclusion and Chapter Summary
      The illustration above shows some of the molecular and cellular changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which Rosa was diagnosed with at the beginning of this chapter, after experiencing memory problems and other changes in her cognitive functioning, mood, and personality.

    Thumbnail: Cerebral lobes. Image used with permission (CC BY SA 3.0 Unported; Gutenberg Encyclopedia).