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The structure and function of neurons

Humans have two control systems in order to respond to the environment:

1. The nervous system
2. The endocrine system

The organisation of the human nervous system is
shown here.

The human nervous system is divided into two
main sub-systems:

The central nervous system…

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Sensory neurons (afferent)

Sensory neurons carry messages from the receptors in the body to our brain and spinal cord.
Receptors such as our sense organs, muscles, skin or joints detect physical and chemical changes
in the body and relay these messages via sensory neurons to the brain or spinal cord.…

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Motor Neuron Interconnecting Neuron Sensory Neuron
Function Carries messages from the Transfers messages from Carries messages from the
CNS to effectors such a sensory neurons to other PNS to the brain and spinal
muscles and glands interconnecting or relay cord (CNS)
neurons
Length of Short dendrites and long Short dendrites…

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Localisation of cortical function

During 19th Century, scientists such as Paul Broca and Karl Wernike discovered that certain areas
of the brain held particular functions/actions­ known as `localisation of cortical function'

They also discovered that some functions such as speech and language are controlled by a
particular hemisphere (or side…

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The cerebrum

The cerebrum has an outermost layer known as the cerebral cortex. The cortex appears grey
because of the location of cell bodies- which is why it is known as grey matter. Beneath the cortex
lie myelinetated axons which appear as white- hence it is known as white matter.…

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movement. The amount of somato sensory area associated with a particular part of the body is
related to its use and sensitivity.

The visual area ­ the occipital lobes primary function is vision. Here nerve fibres from the inner
half of the retina of each eye cross at the optic…

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Methods of studying cortical specialisation

Invasive methods

An invasive procedure is one in which the body is "invaded" or entered by a needle, tube, device,
or scope

1. Post mortem studies

A post-mortem examination, or autopsy, is an examination of a corpse in order to
determine the cause of death.…

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A non-invasive procedure is one in which there is no break in the skin or any invasion of healthy


tissue. There are four non- invasive methods:


Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Computerised axial tomography (CAT)
Positron emission tomography (PET)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)




1. EEG

Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a non-invasive measurement of electrical…

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Positron emission tomography (PET) involves producing computer-generated pictures of the brain.
A tracer (a small amount of radioactive glucose) is injected into the body. This can be picked up
and formed into a picture of the amount of tracer absorbed, which can indicate which area of the
brain/body is functioning…

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Human nervous system



Autonomic nervous system (ANS)



Function: controls the functions of blood vessels, glands and the internal organs of the body (e.g.
bladder, stomach and heart)



It mainly operates automatically i.e. without conscious control



The ANS is sub-divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system…

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nice, but quite a few mistakes

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