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Biology LibreTexts

5: The Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems

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    • 5.1: The Central Nervous System
      The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord and is covered with three layers of protective coverings called meninges (from the Greek word for membrane). The outermost layer is the dura mater with the primary function for this thick layer is to protect the brain and spinal cord. The dura mater also contains vein-like structures that carry blood from the brain back to the heart. The middle layer is the web-like arachnoid mater. The last layer is the pia mater.
    • 5.2: The Peripheral Nervous System
      The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is the connection between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. The central nervious system (CNS) is like the power plant of the nervous system. It creates the signals that control the functions of the body. The PNS is like the wires that go to individual houses. Without those “wires,” the signals produced by the CNS could not control the body (and the CNS would not be able to receive sensory information from the body either).
    • 5.3: Nervous System Disorders
      A nervous system that functions correctly is a fantastically complex, well-oiled machine—synapses fire appropriately, muscles move when needed, memories are formed and stored, and emotions are well regulated. Unfortunately, each year millions of people in the United States deal with some sort of nervous system disorder.