The system nervous central consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The first, is enclosed in the skull, it is in direct continuity with the second, together with which it collects and integrates information from other organs and the environment, planning appropriate responses and transmits them to the rest of the body.

What is the central nervous system?

The central nervous system consist of two main parts, those are the brain and the spinal cord.

The brain

The brain, which is contained in the cranium, is formed by the most outer part containing the bodies of the neurons (the cerebral cortex or grey matter) and an inner part in which the nerve fibers are located and formed by their prolongations that transmit information to the rest of organism and those which receive information from the other parts of the body. Outside the bark of all these fibers, they are surrounded by myelin, whose whitish appearance has led to the assignment of the innermost part of the brain called white matter.

Within the brain there are several structures, including the thalamus, the epithalamus, the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the ganglia of the base, including the amygdala, caudate nucleus and the lenticular nucleus (in turn formed by the putamen and globus pallidus). Collectively the caudate and putamen form what is called the striatum.

At the base of the brain is the cerebellum and trunk brain. This is the last part, which is directly connected with the spinal cord

The spinal cord

The spinal cord is a long cylindrical structure that flows through the vertebral column and can be considered a real extension of the brain. Their structures, however are specular: the central part of the spinal cord (grey matter) is in fact formed by the bodies of the neurons, while the external part is formed by white matter. In both cases, the basic unit is the neuron, a cell equipped with prolongations surrounded by myelin.

Both from the brain (in particular, from the brainstem) and spinal cord which start at the nerves that carry information to the other structures of the body. In addition both bodies are surrounded by protective membranes are called the meninges. The outermost, known as dura mater, is a real protective shield. The arachnoid and the pia mater instead define a space within, which flows the cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that has itself a protective function from any trauma.

What function does the central nervous system serve?

The central nervous system is the place where the information collected from the peripheral nervous system are reworked and from which information will be distributed through the peripheral nervous system.

In particular, the brain processes and interprets the information collected from the spinal cord, playing a key role in most of the body's functions, including movement, feeling, thinking and memory and controlling both the conscious actions of the body. Some reflex movements are made instead through the spinal cord without which the brain structures are involved.

The grey matter that forms the cerebral cortex is able to control the volunteer movements, but not only that, it is also controls language, the senses, the mind and the memory. Depending on the function performed several cortical areas take different names; motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, visual cortex and auditory cortex.

Although, each of the structures inside the brain performs special functions. The thalamus, for example, integrates and transmits the sensory information and participates in the control of movement and memory. The hypothalamus, however controls autonomous functions such as body temperature, hunger and thirst, and participates in the processing of memory and emotions. Also secretes hormones that control the production of other pituitary hormones. The latter controls the many functions of the endocrine glands, including metabolism, balance of fluids and minerals, stress response and sexuality. The epithalamus is in charge of the sense of smell, while the amygdala reside aggressive behavior.

Finally, the cerebellum controls movement and balance, and has a role in some types of memory and the ability to influence music and math, while the brainstem is a station through which all the information passes from the brain and directs it. From this, originates most of the nerves that control the structures of the skull and here are neurons responsible for controlling basic functions such as heartbeat and breathing.

The spinal cord, however is a sort of highway along which the information flow is directed to the brain, both those sent from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. This function is added to the testing of simple musculoskeletal reflexes.