Neurologic control of muscle contractions

Neurologic control of muscle contractions - The famous...

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The famous philosopher Descartes described the body as a machine. In reference to muscle movements he stated: Now according as these spirits enter thus into the concavities of the brain, they pass thence into the pores of the substance, and from these pores into the nerves; where according as they enter or even only as they tend to enter more or less into the one rather than into the others, they have the power to change the shape of the muscles in which these nerves are inserted, and by this means to make all the limbs move (Needham, 1971). Not all species have the capability to move from one place to another, but those that can use the specific physiological event of muscle contractions to control their every step. As Descartes attempts to explain, the physiological event of movement and muscle contractions are under the control of the nervous system. The nervous system is able to coordinate each cell that makes up an entire muscle to react in the same behavior. The basic process of the nervous system is to receive a sensory input, integrate that input, and then cause an output through motor effector cells (Campbell, 1999). This paper will explore the neurological control of the physiological mechanism of skeletal muscle contractions in human beings, Homo sapiens. The effortless ability to move is created through the continuous input of our senses, specifically vision. Actions are possible because the areas in the brain that control movement have an unlimited supply of this visual information. Once a sensory input is perceived the brain must devise a plan of action. This occurs in the brain within the posterior parietal and premotor areas. The posterior parietal cortex receives and sends the sensory information about the environment and the position of the body in space to 1
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the premotor cortex, which identifies the characteristics of the movement (Kandel, 1991). From here the signal is sent to the spinal chord. The cerebral cortex sends the message to the spinal chord either directly or through the brainstem pathway, which is under the control of the cerebellum and the basal ganglia (Kandel, 1991). These paths lead to the spinal chord where motor neurons are located so
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course NEURO 101 taught by Professor Mosh. during the Fall '08 term at NYU.

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Neurologic control of muscle contractions - The famous...

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