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As we stated in Week 8, the nervous system is the master integrating and coordin

As we stated in Week 8, the nervous system is the master integrating and coordinating system, continuously monitoring, and processing sensory information from both the external environment, as well as from within the body. So, what are the roles of the spinal cord and the spinal nerves within this incredible system?
The spinal cord itself, is a long, thin tubular structure that extends from the brainstem to the lower back and contains approximately 100 million neurons! It is a part of the central nervous system responsible for transmitting sensory and motor information between the brain and the rest of the body. Because of its critical importance to our function and survival, the spinal cord is protected by the vertebral column.
The 31 pairs of spinal nerves branch out from the spinal cord and carry messages to and from specific regions of the body. Damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can result in a range of symptoms, including paralysis, weakness, and loss of sensation.
You are likely beginning to take note that the neurological system is extremely complex and can be quite challenging to understand. You would not be wrong! Let’s look at an analogy to help us to understand. Think of the spinal cord as a major highway connecting the brain to the rest of the body. On that highway, one part of the road heads towards the brain (ascending tract), while the other part heads away from the brain (descending tract).
As impulses travel the spinal cord highway, think of these impulses as cars carrying messages from one location to the next. On this route, there are many entry and exit ramps (the spinal nerves); allowing the cars to enter and exit at different locations so that messages can be delivered and received by their desired and intended location.
Neurology is a difficult subject, but with practice and time, the message will be received!
Informally and based upon what you now understand about the spinal cord and nerves, think about the following questions posed. Discuss and, most importantly, debate the “why” of one question that interests you most.
As this is a discussion, the goal is to debate freely with your peers and to have the opportunity to explore and analyze, not only your chosen question, but also the thoughts of your classmates. You might find that you end on a topic below that is far removed from your original choice. That is ok and encouraged!
Why does damage to the spinal cord often result in paralysis?
Why do some spinal nerves have more sensory or motor function than others?
Why do some people experience chronic itching or tingling after a spinal nerve injury?
Why do some spinal nerves play a more important role than others in autonomic function?
Why do some researchers believe that the spinal cord can regenerate and repair?
Why do some scientists support spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain while others argue that it can cause adverse effects?
Why does damage to the spinal cord lead to loss of sensation and movement below the level of injury?
Why is the brain and spinal cord so important in autonomic function?
NOTE: Please use the information from the Syllabus page here for details on the textbooks.
Submission Details
Post your response to the Discussion Area by the due date assigned.
Respond to at least two posts on two different days by the end of the week.

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