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What Is the Function of the Central Nervous System?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The major function of the central nervous system is to sort through all the information it receives. The system then puts together the information in order to control the actions of the human body. Along with the peripheral nervous system located in different organs in the body, the central nervous system acts as the “chief control officer” for all bodily functions. Its two main parts, the brain and the spinal cord, have their own responsibilities that contribute to the general task of the system.

The brain is the part of the central nervous system that generally receives and processes all the information from the body. It primarily consists of gray and white matter. The gray matter is where all the information processes happen and contains the nerve cells’ bodies and branched sections called the dendrites. The white matter, on the other hand, acts as the messenger and connects all the areas of the gray matter to make for a proper information process.

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Aside from its gray and white matter, the brain is further split into three parts. The cerebrum makes up the largest part of the brain and is responsible for all the actions that the body consciously does, such as walking or eating. It is also provides us the appropriate sensations when we use our five sense organs. The medulla oblongata located at the rear is tasked to control the heartbeat, breathing, and blood flow. For this reason, a properly-done “karate chop” at the base of the neck can really lead to a person’s death.

The third part of the brain is the cerebellum, whose role is to oversee proper coordination and posture. This is why when a human walks, his foot and his hand alternately swing back and forth in order to keep the body in a balanced position. Many theories have surfaced that athletes and musicians have more developed cerebellums because their vocations require them to have exceptional eye and muscle coordination.

The brain may be the “processing center” of the central nervous system, but without the spinal cord, the brain would not be processing any information at all. The spinal cord is the channel where all information from the peripheral nervous system travels. In crises, the brain can also send out information through the spinal cord to the bodily organs to adapt to the injury. Like the brain, the spinal cord is also made of gray and white matter. The central nervous system is basically made up of nerve cells that are all in charge of all that occurs within the body.

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