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Definition of Nerve, sixth cranial

Nerve, sixth cranial: The sixth cranial nerve is the abducens nerve, a small motor nerve that has one task: to supply a muscle called the lateral rectus muscle that moves the eye outward.

Paralysis of the abducens nerve causes inward turning of the eye (internal strabismus) leading to double vision.

All 12 cranial nerves, the abducens nerve included, emerge from or enter the skull (the cranium), as opposed to the spinal nerves which emerge from the vertebral column.

The word "abducens" comes from the Latin "ab-", away from + "ducere", to draw = to draw away. The abducens (or abducens) operates the lateral rectus muscle that draws the eye toward the side of the head. The abducens nerve is also called the abducens nerve.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7612
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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