Parts of the nervous system

The nervous system has three main parts: the neurons, the brain, and the spinal cord. The neurons are cells that carry electrical messages throughout the nervous system. The brain is the information center. It contains neurons and responds to information it receives from the neurons and other senses. The spinal cord attaches to the brain and carries information from nerves to the brain.


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The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Cells of the nervous system, called nerve cells or neurons, are specialized to carry "messages" through an electrochemical process. The human brain has approximately 100 billion neurons. To learn how neurons carry messages, read about the action potential.
Neurons come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of the smallest neurons have cell bodies that are only 4 microns wide. Some of the biggest neurons have cell bodies that are 100 microns wide. (Remember that 1 micron is equal to one thousandth of a millimeter!).

Making sense of the brain's mind-boggling complexity isn't easy. What we do know is that it's the organ that makes us human, giving people the capacity for art, language, moral judgments, and rational thought. It's also responsible for each individual's personality, memories, movements, and how we sense the world.
All this comes from a jellylike mass of fat and protein weighing about 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms). It is, nevertheless, one of the body's biggest organs, consisting of some 100 billion nerve cells that not only put together thoughts and highly coordinated physical actions but regulate our unconscious body processes, such as digestion and breathing.

Spinal Cord
The Spinal Cord is connected to the brain and is about the diameter of a human finger. From the brain the spinal cord descends down the middle of the back and is surrounded and protected by the bony vertebral column. The spinal cord is surrounded by a clear fluid called Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), that acts as a cushion to protect the delicate nerve tissues against damage from banging against the inside of the vertebrae.
The anatomy of the spinal cord itself, consists of millions of nerve fibres which transmit electrical information to and from the limbs, trunk and organs of the body, back to and from the brain. The nerves which exit the spinal cord in the upper section, the neck, control breathing and the arms. The nerves which exit the spinal cord in the mid and lower section of the back, control the trunk and legs, as well as bladder, bowel and sexual function.
The nerves which carry information from the brain to muscles are called Motor Neurones. The nerves which carry information from the body back to the brain are called Sensory Neurones. Sensory Neurones carry information to the brain about skin temperature, touch, pain and joint position.