Basics of the Brain
Central Nervous System
Your Central Nervous System is your brain and your spinal cord. It is a switchboard for transfer and processing of information from the sensory organs and peripheral nerves. The spinal cord and the brain receive information from both inside and outside the body and relay information back to the body to maintain internal homeostasis and to respond to the outside world. Your central nervous system is protected by spinal fluid, three meningeal layers of tissue and then bone.
The oldest part of the brain is the brain stem. The brain stem controls most basic life giving functions such as breathing and organ function. In more recent evolution the cortex is the inner part of the brain consisting of areas where we process memory and emotions. There is also an area that acts as a triage for all information coming to the neo cortex. The neo cortex is the newest and most recognisable part of the brain. It is responsible for motor function, sensory awareness, visual processing, language, thought and foresight. The cerebellum, literally meaning little brain is at the back of the brain. Its involved in movement and spatial awareness and more recently linked to emotions.
Peripheral Nervous System
The peripheral nervous system is like a series of information highways sending information to and from the brain and spinal cord. Use it or lose it! Nerves flow on from the spinal cord allowing our muscles to move, our brain to sense different kinds of pain, and receive other sensory information such as touch. Not all information processing happens in the brain, spinal reflexes occur in the spinal cord to prevent us from tripping and over-stretching our muscles, and effectively allowing us to move safely and efficiently.