116 Lecture 6.S10

116 Lecture 6.S10 - CBNS 116 Lecture 6 The Spinal cord...

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CBNS 116 Lecture 6 - The Spinal cord ASSIGNMENT: Read Nolte Chapter 10: “Spinal cord”. FOR NEXT LECTURE: (4/22): Read Nolte Chapter 11: “Organization of the brainstem”. TODAY'S LECTURE: The big picture: The spinal cord is a primary component of the CNS by which the brain receives information from the periphery and is the conduit through which the brain directs voluntary movement. Therefore the spinal cord is a good place to begin review of 4 important pathways, 3 sensory and one motor: The posterior column-medial lemniscus system for fine touch, vibration, and propriocepion; the spinothalamic tract ( anterolateral pathway ) for nociceptive (pain and temperature) information, the spinocerebellar tracts , the pathways by which the cerebellum receives proprioceptive information to direct unconscious control of body position; and the corticospinal tract , the pathway from cerebral cortex to direct voluntary movement. The spinal cord is also the site of a number of important reflexes , the unconscious process by which the body reacts to incoming somatosensory stimuli for the overall well being and survival of the organism. In a similar fashion, the spinal cord plays a major role in the Autonomic (think “automatic”) Nervous System ( ANS ) which can be thought of as reflexive control of the viscera to direct “homeostatic” or “survival” responses. I. Gross anatomy and histology of the spinal cord [slides 114-126] A. The spinal cord is a continuous longitudinally oriented structure with a cervical enlargement and a lumbar enlargement [slide 114]. These enlargements are due to the greater number of neurons (and their fibers) required for the processing of sensory and motor information associated with the limbs. Like the brain, the spinal cord possesses several important named sulci (though no gyri) that run the entire length of the cord. The most prominent of these is the deep anterior median fissure along the anterior (ventral) surface of the cord (can be seen in slide 114); its posterior (dorsal) counterpart the posterior median sulcus ; the posterolateral sulcus lateral to the posterior median sulcus, and the poorly defined anterolateral sulcus . The anterior median fissure and posterior median sulcus divide the spinal cord nearly in half, except for a small band of fibers and ring of gray matter around the central canal of the cord. Thus any fibers crossing the midline within the spinal cord do so within this narrow band.
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The posterolateral sulcus is where the dorsal rootlets emerge, while the anterolateral sulcus is where the ventral rootlets emerge. B. The spinal cord, like the brain, is covered by meninges ( dura , arachnoid , and pia ). These meninges continue along the length of the
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116 Lecture 6.S10 - CBNS 116 Lecture 6 The Spinal cord...

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