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The nervous system (NS)

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Organization of the nervous system


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Based on differences in the structure, location, and functions, nervous system is subdivided into: Central Nervous System (CNS) Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

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Organization of the nervous system

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Functional classes of neurons


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Afferent neurons:
Sensory receptor at peripheral ending (generates AP) Convey input to the CNS Cell body outside CNS

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Efferent neurons:
Cell bodies in the CNS output for the effector organs

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Structure and location of the three functional classes of neurons

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The Central Nervous System (CNS)

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CNS
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Consists of:
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The brain Spinal cord

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The Brain
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Major brain functions:

Regulates internal environment Experiences emotions Voluntarily controls movements Perceives own body and surroundings Engages in other higher cognitive processes (e.G. Thought and memory)

Brain functions as a whole (neurons linked via synapsis). 5/5/12

Structures of the Major Components of the Brain Based on anatomical distinction, functional specialization, and development, brain has the following regions:
Brain stem (Medulla, pons, midbrain) Cerebellum Forebrain
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Diencephalon
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Hypothalamus Thalamus

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Cerebrum
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Functions of the Major Components of the Brain

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Cerebral Cortex

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Cerebral Cortex

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Cortical lobes

Initial processi ng of visual input Sound sensati on

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The parietal lobes


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The somatosensory cortex: located in the front portion of each parietal lobe Immediately behind the central sulcus

It is the site for initial cortical processing and perception of: Somesthetic input Proprioceptive input

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The somatosensory cortex


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Each region within the somatosensory cortex receives input from a specific area of the body. Different parts of the body are not equally represented Reception of opposite side inputs Thalamus simple awareness of sensation Somatosensory cortex full sensory perception Capable of spatial discrimination 5/5/12 Connections with higher brain

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The frontal lobes

Primary motor cortex: Immediately in front of the central sulcus Next to the somatosensory cortex

Confers voluntary control over movement produced by skeletal muscles. Involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary motor functions The motor cortex itself does not 5/5/12 initiate voluntary movement

The primary motor cortex

Controls opposite side muscles of the body

The extent of representation in the motor cortex is proportional to the precision and complexity of motor skills required of the respective part 5/5/12

Other brain regions important in motor control

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Brain plasticity
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When an area of the brain associated with a particular activity is destroyed, other areas of the brain may gradually assume some or all of the functions of the damaged region Mechanism:

??? formation of new neural pathways (not new neurons, but new connections between 5/5/12 existing neurons)

Cortical control of language


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Areas of the brain responsible for language ability are found in only one hemisphere - the left hemisphere. Cortical language areas:

Brocas area; speaking ability (expression) 5/5/12

Cortical language areas

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Schematic linking of various regions of the cortex

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Electroencephalogram (EEG)
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The recording of electrical activity along the scalp A tracing (measurement) of voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain versus time recorded from electrodes placed over scalp in a specific array

Deep parts of the brain are not well 5/5/12 sampled

EEG Elements
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Electrodes: Active electrodes: Attached to the scalp Reference electrode: Mastoid, nose, ear lobe... Amplifier

The EEG records differences in voltage difference in electrical potential from one electrode to another 5/5/12

EEG Rhythms
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Alpha waves Most common in adults. Posteriorly (occipital) more than anteriorly Especially prominent with closed eyes and with relaxation. Disappears normally with attention (eg, mental arithmetic, stress, opening eyes). In most instances, it is regarded as a normal waveform.

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EEG Rhythms
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Beta waves Small in amplitude More evident anteriorly Drugs, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, augment beta waves

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EEG Rhythms
Theta waves Normally seen in sleep In awake adults, these waves are abnormal if they occur in excess.

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EEG Rhythms
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Delta waves Normally seen in deep sleep. Delta waves are abnormal in the awake adult. Often, they have the largest amplitude of all waves.

Theta and delta waves are known collectively as slow waves.

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EEG Rhythms

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Neural basis of the EEG


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For the electrical activity of the brain to be recorded from scalp: It must be of sufficient strength It must be of sufficient duration Two options: Record action potentials of brain neurons Record of postsynaptic potentials

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Action potentials are difficult to measure; They are rapid, transient, all-or-none nerve impulses of 100mv aprox. Very short duration of ~1ms that flow from the body to the axon terminal of a neuron. 5/5/12

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Post-synaptic potentials are easier to measure


The postsynaptic neuron gets depolarized (Na+ inward currents excitatory - EPSP) or hyperpolarized (Cl- inward currents inhibitory -IPSP). EPSP and IPSP summate temporally and spatially. If the postsynaptic neuron reaches a given depolarization threshold, an action potential is generated.

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Action potential AP threshold

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When an EPSP is generated in the dendrites of a neuron an extracellular electrode detects a negative voltage difference, resulting from Na+ currents flowing inside the neurons cytoplasm. The current completes a loop further away the excitatory input (Na+ flows outside the cell), being recorded as a positive voltage difference by an extracellular electrode. This process can last hundreds of milliseconds.
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Thus, a small dipole is generated!!

Pyramidal neurons are spatially aligned and perpendicular to the cortical surface. Thus, EEG represents mainly the postsynaptic potentials of pyramidal neurons close to the recording electrode. The electrical activity from deeper generators gets dispersed and attenuated by volume

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The International 10-20 System


The International 10-20 System of Electrode Placement is the most widely used method to describe the location of scalp electrodes. The 10-20 system is based on the relationship between the location of an electrode and the underlying area of cerebral cortex. Each site has a letter (to identify the lobe) and a number or another letter to identify the hemisphere location.

The letters used are: "F" - Frontal lobe, "T" - Temporal lobe , "C" - Central lobe , "P" - Parietal lobe, "O" - Occipital lobe. (Note: There is no central lobe in the cerebral cortex. "C" is just used for identification purposes only.) Even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8) refer to the right hemisphere odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7) refer to the left hemisphere. "Z" refers to an electrode placed on the midline. The smaller the number, the closer the position to the midline. "Fp" stands for Front polar. 5/5/12

EEG uses
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To distinguish various stages of sleep A clinical tool in the diagnosis of cerebral dysfunction (e.G. Epilepsy) Legal determination of brain death

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The basal nuclei


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Masses of gray matter (neuron cell bodies) located deep within the cerebral white matter Functions:

Inhibiting muscle tone throughout the body Selecting and maintaining purposeful motor activity while suppressing useless or unwanted patterns of movement Helping monitor and coordinate slow, sustained contractions, especially those related to posture and support

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The basal nuclei


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Improper function: parkinsons disease Deficiency of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the basal nuclei Signs and symptoms:
Increased muscle tone, or rigidity Involuntary, useless, or unwanted movements, such as resting tremors (e.g., hands rhythmically shaking)

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The thalamus
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Relay station and synaptic integrating center for preliminary processing of all sensory input on its way to the cortex It screens out insignificant signals and routes the important sensory impulses to appropriate areas of the somatosensory cortex (e.G., Attention to stimuli of interest)

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The hypothalamus

Important link between the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system via the pituitary gland Controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian cycles

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The limbic system

Not a separate structure Associated with emotions, basic survival and socio-sexual behavioral patterns, motivation, and learning

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Cerebellum
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Attached to the back of the upper portion of the brain stem Lies underneath the occipital lobe of the cortex Does not initiate movement, but contributes to coordination, precision, and accurate timing. It receives input from sensory systems and from other parts of the brain & spinal cord, and integrates these inputs to fine tune motor activity Damage to the cerebellum does not cause paralysis, but instead produces 5/5/12 disorders in fine movement, equilibrium

Cerebellum

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Brain stem
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The brain stem is a vital link between the spinal cord and higher brain regions

Main functions: The majority of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves arise from the brain stem Centers, that control heart and blood vessel function, respiration, and many digestive activities Regulating muscle reflexes involved in equilibrium and posture. Reticular formation: controls 5/5/12

Cranial Nerves

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Reticular activating system

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Sleep
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States of consciousness:

Maximum alertness Wakefulness Sleep (several different types) Coma

Sleep is an active process, the brains overall level of activity is not reduced during sleep

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Types of sleep

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Slow-wave sleep Paradoxical, or REM (rapid eye movement), sleep

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Comparison of Slow-Wave and Paradoxical Sleep

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EEG patterns during different types of sleep

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SPINAL CORD

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Spinal cord
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Descends through the vertebral canal of the vertebral column Paired spinal nerves emerge from the spinal cord at:
8 pairs of cervical (neck) nerves (C1C8) 12 thoracic (chest) nerves (T1-T12) 5 lumbar (abdominal) nerves (L1-L5) 5 sacral (pelvic) nerves (S1-S5)

5/5/12 1 coccygeal (tailbone) nerve

Spinal cord
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The spinal cord itself extends only to the level of the first or second lumbar vertebra

Nerve roots of the remaining nerves are greatly elongated (cauda equina), to exit the vertebral column at their appropriate space.
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Spinal cord in cross section


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Gray matter consists primarily of neuronal cell bodies and their dendrites, short interneurons, and glial cells

The white matter is organized into tracts, which are bundles of nerve fibers (axons of long interneurons) with a similar function

Bundles are grouped into columns that extend the length of the cord:

Ascending tracts Descending tracts

The dorsal and ventral roots

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at each level join to form

Reflex arc
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Reflex:

Any response that occurs automatically without conscious effort Motor response to a specific sensory stimulus

5/5/12 Reflex arc:

Types of Reflexes
A. Based on complexity:
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Simple, or basic reflexes, . Built-in, unlearned responses . e.g., pulling the hand away from a burning hot object . Usually integrated in spinal cord or brain stem Acquired, or conditioned reflexes, . Result of practice and learning . Usually integrated at higher brain levels

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Types of Reflexes
B. Based on neural processing level: 1. Cranial reflexes e.g., Pupillary reflex 2. Spinal reflexes * Reflex activity between afferent input and efferent output without involving the brain * The controlling center of the spinal reflex is located in one or more spinal cord segments e.g., Skeletal muscle stretch reflex C. Based on synapse number 1. Monosynaptic reflexes A. Two neurons (one synapse) 2. Polysynaptic reflexes A. Many neurons (many synapses) 5/5/12

Types of Reflexes
D. Based on effector 1. Autonomic [visceral] reflexes Smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, glands 2. Somatic [muscle] reflexes Skeletal muscles E. Based on side of effect 1. Ipsilateral reflexes The response is on the same side of the body as the stimulus 2. Contralateral [crossed extensor] reflexes 5/5/12 The response is on the opposite side of

Spinal Reflexes
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Integrating center for the reflex activity between afferent input and efferent output is located in one or more spinal cord segments The brain can facilitate or inhibit them

Examples: Withdrawal reflex (flexor reflex) Stretch reflex

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Withdrawal reflex

reciprocal innervation

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Withdrawal reflex
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The brain can modify the withdrawal reflex Impulses from the brain (voluntary) can override the input from the receptors (reflex) Example: pricking finger for blood sampling

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Stretch reflex
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Two muscle receptors are important for proprioceptive inputs:


Muscle spindles (monitor changes in muscle length)

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Golgi tendon organs ( monitor changes in muscle tension)

Both are activated by muscle stretch, but convey different messages 5/5/12

Muscle spindles
Muscle spindle
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Distributed throughout skeletal muscle fibers

Each spindle consists of 3-10 intrafusal specialized muscle fibers enclosed in a connective tissue capsule

Each intrafusal fiber has

Noncontractile central portion


skeletal muscle fibers

Contractile ends 5/5/12

Muscle spindles

Each spindle has:

Afferent nerve supply sensory nerve endings detect change in muscle length and speed Efferent nerve supply motor, gamma neurons

Skeletal muscle fibers are supplied via motor 5/5/12 neurons

Stretch reflex

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Patellar tendon reflex (a stretch reflex)


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Tapping stretches the muscle spindles in the quadriceps femoris muscle

Sensory from spindles

To skeletal muscle fibers

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Golgi tendon organs


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In the tendons of the muscle Respond to changes in the muscles tension Increased firing with increased muscle tension Its firing leads to inhibition of motorneuron and thus relaxation of skeletal muscle

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Increased tension increases GTO firing

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Contraction increases muscle tension

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Inhibitory motorneuron

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Muscle relaxes

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Golgi tendon reflex


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Opposite of those elicited by muscle spindle reflexes Golgi tendon organs help ensure smooth onset and termination of muscle contraction Particularly important in activities involving rapid switching between flexion and extension such as in running

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The electroencephalogram (EEG) is the depiction of the electrical activity occurring at the surface of the brain. This activity appears on the screen of the EEG machine as waveforms of varying frequency and amplitude measured in voltage (specifically microvoltages). EEG waveforms are generally classified according to their 5/5/12

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