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VEM5384-Neurology-Nutshell

Course Number: VEM 5384, Fall 2009

College/University: University of Florida

Word Count: 4470

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CLINICAL NEUROLOGY IN A NUTSHELL Preface The following material represents a simplified version of the nervous system. This is by design, since the beginning student can benefit from such a simplification. On the other hand, it is intended that the facts presented here are true, accurate and clinically functional. Those students who master this material should have little difficulty adapting to more complex views...

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NEUROLOGY CLINICAL IN A NUTSHELL Preface The following material represents a simplified version of the nervous system. This is by design, since the beginning student can benefit from such a simplification. On the other hand, it is intended that the facts presented here are true, accurate and clinically functional. Those students who master this material should have little difficulty adapting to more complex views of the nervous system during future studies. In addition to providing a "bird's eye" view of the nervous system, this work will attempt to demonstrate analogies which may assist the student in remembering the complex functions which are contact herein. It is hoped that the student will have fun mastering this material. Enjoyment is the key to enlightenment. Functional Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy Introduction: What makes the nervous system unique is that it is made up of a network of interconnected electrically active cells called neurons. These cells endow the nervous system with the capability to form complex electrical pathways and to transport this integrated information throughout the body. Most of the cells interact through substances released from their synaptic terminals and these chemicals alter the membrane potentials of a variety of post-synaptic cells (including other neurons, skeletal muscles, smooth muscles, cardiac muscles and glands). The chemical transmission of neurons results in alteration in transmembrane ion channels. This results in ion movements across membranes, leading to alterations in the activities of the post-synaptic cell. The central nervous system receives information about the external environment, using complex behaviors to allow the animal to negotiate this environment. This function is carried out by the somatic nervous system which regulates skeletal muscle activity. In addition, the central nervous system listens to the internal workings of the body and regulates those function which maintain the animal's health. These functions are performed by the autonomic nervous system. These two basic activities of the central nervous system are not completely separated, since the integration of the whole organism is carried out seamlessly. The central nervous system functions in concert with the body. Disease of many other body parts can affect the nervous system and disease of the nervous system can result in dysfunction of other parts of the body. While this may appear to lead to undue difficulties in understanding the relationship between the central nervous system and the rest of the body, it also provides the challenge by which neurology becomes an exciting clinical discipline. The diversity by which neurologic disease can manifest makes neurology an interesting field of endeavor. Cells of the Nervous System: Neurons. One of the important distinguishing cells of the nervous system is the neuron. It is the electrica...
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