The Nervous System – A High Speed Connection

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The Internet as we know it may well have had the human nervous system as its inspiration.

The nervous system relies on a high-speed communications network to alert the brain to information that affects all areas of the body.

For instance the impulses sent from the nervous system to the brain travel at up to 250 miles per hour. This is infinitely faster than the endocrine system that sends hormones through the bloodstream and may take an hour to get to their destination.

The nervous system has the full attention of the brain and the brain responds. The responses can be the result of pain, enjoyment or other sensory data.

Electrically charged neurons make up the communications landscape of the nervous system. When the nervous system kicks in electrical charges and chemical reactions are generated as information is sent on a fast track to a brain that either calls for action or reaction to the supplied data stream.

The three primary elements of the nervous system are the brain, the spinal chord and a complex nerve network reaching all areas of your body.

There are at least 24 different nerve centers in the body and all five senses are reflected in the system controlled by neurons.

The function of the nervous system is to gear the body up for action or calm it to the point of relaxation. The problem comes when our actions and our thought patterns tell our body’s nervous system to react in a way counter to what the body actually needs. For instance we can insist on being worried and our body’s nervous system works overtime to help us keep tense and alert when the risk we imagine is not an identifiable threat. This is often counterproductive to the actual needs of the body.

The journey of the nerve impulses has been described as “An electrical charge that travels down the cell membrane of a neuron’s dendrite and/or axon through the action of the Na-K pump. Ordinarily, the inside of a neuron’s cell membrane is negatively-charged while the outside is positively-charged. When sodium and potassium ions change places, this reverses the inner and outer charges causing the nerve impulse to travel down the membrane. A nerve impulse is “all-or-none:” it either goes or not, and there’s no halfway. However, a neuron needs a threshold stimulus, the minimum level of stimulus needed, to trigger the Na-K pump to go and the impulse to travel. A neuron cannot immediately fire again; it needs time for the sodium and potassium to return to their places and everything to return to normal. This time is called the refractory period.

“A junction between two nerve cells or a nerve and a muscle cell is called a synapse. In a synapse, various chemicals are used to transfer the impulse across the gap to the next cell. These are collectively known as neurotransmitters, and include such chemicals as dopamine (brain levels of which are low in Parkinson’s disease), serotonin, and acetylcholine (levels of which are low in myasthenia gravis).” [1]

The body’s nervous system is an intricate method that relies on a logical series of events to trigger an appropriate body response. Without this system we could not exist.

Perhaps the nervous system looks designed because it is designed.

[1] http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Courses/bio105/nervous.htm