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Acetylcholine
Neurotransmitter chemical released at the end of nerve cells.
Afferent Nerve
Carries messages toward the brain and spinal cord (sensory nerve). Afferent comes from af- (a form of ad-, meaning toward) and eferent (meaning carrying).
Arachnoid Membrane
Middle layer of the three membranes (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord. The Greek arachne means spider.
Astrocyte
Type of glial (neuroglial) cell that transports water and salts from capillaries.
Autonomic nervous system
Nerves that control involuntary body functions of muscles, glands, and internal organs.
Axon
Microscopic fiber that carries the nervous impulse along a nerve cell.
Blood-brain barrier
Blood vessels (capillaries) that selectively let certain substances enter the brain tissue and keep and other substances out.
Brainstem
Lower portion of the brain that connects the cerebrum with the spinal cord; includes the pons and medulla oblongata.
Cauda Equina
Collection of spinal nerves below the end of the spinal cord.
Cell Body
Part of a nerve cell that contains the nucleus.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
Brain and the spinal cord.
Cerebellum
Postrerior part of the brain That coordinates muscle movements and maintains balance.
Cerebral Cortex
Outer region of the cerebrum, containing sheets of nerve cells; gray brain matter of the brain.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
Circulates throughout the brain and spinal cord.
Cerebrum
Largest part of the brain; responsible for voluntary musculatr activity, speech, taste, hearing, thought, and memory.
Cranial Nerves
12 pairs of nerves that carry messages to and from the brain with regard to the head and neck (except the vagus nerve).
Dendrite
Microscopic branching fiber of a nerve cell that is the first part to receive the nervous impulse.
Dura Mater
Thick, outermost layer of the meninges surroumding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. Latin for "hard mother"
Efferent Nerve
Carries messages away from the brain and spinal cord; motor nerve.
Ependymal Cell
Glial cell that lines membranes within the brain and spinal cord helps form cerebrospinal fluid
Ganglion (plural: ganglia)
Collection of nerve cell bodies in the periferal nervous system.
Glial cell (neuroglial cell)
Supportive and connective nerve cell that does not carry nervouse impulses. Examples are astrocytes, microglial cells, ependymal cells, and oligondrocytes.
Gyrus (plural: gyri)
Sheet of nerve cells that produces a rounded ridge on the surface of the cerebral cortex; convolution.
Hypothalamus
Portion of the brain beneath the thalamus; controls sleep, appetite, body temperature, and sections from the pituitary gland.
Medulla Oblongata
Part of the brain just above the spinal cord; controls breathing, heartbeat, and the size of blood vessels; nerve fibers cross over.
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