Understanding nervous systems can be a tough task: so much goes on with them! Still, the journey fascinates!
Webster’s helps us by defining “nerve” (from Latin, nervus, meaning “string.”) as:
“… a cord-like fiber or bundle of fibers connecting the body organs with the spinal cord and brain, parts of the nervous system with each other, and impulses to and from the brain and nerve centers.”
If communication consists of at least an origination point and a receipt point, plus a line which delivers meaningful messages, then nervous systems are a communication system for all body parts and the cells that make them up.
Imagine a combination of several pairs within series of connected pipelines, each carrying many millions of impulses across electrically excitable cells (neurons)… that’s nervous systems. Like multi-lane freeways, two-way highways, single-lane roadways, well-worn trails and intimate pathways, nerve channels come in different sizes large to small, and with different functions.
The Electric Highway
Within the human body, there are at least 214 identified nerves. Hundreds of others yet named make up too many miles, when considered end-to-end, than is possible to calculate. But the billions of charged messages, which are the neurons’s domain to protect and convey, are the main show. One nerve alone may actually supply any given muscle but a thousand neurons may reside in the one and branch out toward thousands of individual muscle cells.
“It is said that there are enough neurons in the human body that if all the other cells were somehow removed the network of fine smaller nerves and neurons would be numerous enough to enable you to easily recognize the individual concerned and to recognize every tissue layer in his or her body.”
On one page of Wikipedia online, 6,734 words describe the structures and functions of nervous systems. The complexity is not the problem, for structure and basic function can be understood fairly easily. The source of the impulses, whether chemical, mental or something else — spiritual perhaps, is what boggles the mind when observing this interior network.
Nervous Systems: Size Matters
The size of nervous systems range from a few hundred cells in the simplest worms to around 100 billion cells in humans.
Nervous systems are defined by the presence of communication of cells with other cells via particles known as “axons” which can extend across large distances and reach membrane-to-membrane junctions that allow rapid signal transmissions, such as light and sound; and motor signals that activate muscles or glands.
The health of nervous systems depends in great part on avoidance of external stresses. Stress can cause a host of ills and unsafe conditions like depression. On the other hand, the presence of adequate supplies of calcium and magnesium — “Nature’s natural tranquilizers” — can go a long way to support this vital human system.
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The next installment of this series on the different human body systems takes up the muscular system. Come back next week and see why Popeye the Sailor Man was big on spinach!
© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule and Sunshine Vitamin Products. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: As always, the information provided here, and the links to information, are intended to inform our readers on an educational level. We are not doctors and we do not diagnose conditions of wellness or illness. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, knowledgeable physician regarding your health.