The Spinal Cord - has a central area of gray matter that is...

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The Spinal Cord The spinal cord primarily serves as an information highway between the brain and the body. It extends through the vertebral canal from the foramen magnum to L1. Past L1, the spinal cord continues as the medullary cone and from L2 to S5 the cauda equina . Extending out from the spinal cord are 31 pairs of spinal nerve that receive sensory information and send out motor signals to muscles and glands. Recall that the spinal cord is a component of the central nervous system while the spinal nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system. The spinal cord does have some specialized functions beyond a conduction pathway for ascending and descending information. It functions in locomotion, with special cells that coordinate the muscles of the leg to enable walking. It also enables several reflexes that do not require input from the brain. Structurally, the spinal cord is a cylinder of nerve tissue contained within the vertebral canal. It
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Unformatted text preview: has a central area of gray matter that is surrounded by white matter. The white matter consists of bundles of myelinated axons and are organized into specific ascending or descending tracts. At regular intervals, spinal nerves enter or exit the spinal cord through the intervertebral foramina. Spinal nerves have dorsal and ventral roots with the dorsal root carrying sensory information into the spinal cord and the ventral root carrying motor information out towards the periphery. Spinal Reflex There are several types of reflexes that are mediated by the spinal cord. In general, a reflex consists of a sensory neuron entering the spinal cord, an interneuron integrating sensory information, and the stimulation of the motor neuron, causing a response. Reflexes are important because they result in a quicker reaction time to sensory stimuli....
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The Spinal Cord - has a central area of gray matter that is...

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