Anatomy of the Central Nervous System
Central Nervous System Overview
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord (see Multimedia File 1).
Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the brain and the spinal cord and also circulates within the cavities (called ventricles) of the central nervous system. The leptomeninges surround the brain and the spinal cord. The cerebrospinal fluid circulates between 2 meningeal layers called the pia matter and the arachnoid (or pia-arachnoid membranes). The outer, thicker layer serves the role of a protective shield and is called the dura matter.
The basic unit of the central nervous system is the neuron (nerve cell). Billions of neurons allow the different parts of the body to communicate with each other via the brain and the spinal cord. A fatty material called myelin coats nerve cells to insulate them and to allow nerves to communicate quickly.
Fernando Dangond, MD
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