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Brain, spinal cord and nervous system.

The most sophisticated human organ, the brain is the body's control central - responsible for a complex system of neurochemical and electrical levers that turn on our ability to see, speak, hear, touch and feel, smile, frown, walk and run.

The brain is the source of our memories and creativity. It effects our sleep habits, our dreams, and our daydreams.

Even moral behavior can be traced back to the brain, wherein electrical impulses and chemical reactions can have a major effect on an individual's outlook and mood.

Thinking about the brain

Yet for all the advances that researchers have made in discovering the brain's inner workings, even today no one can yet tease out the answer to the most nagging question the human brain poses.

That is, human consciousness or - how do we think about what we think about?

How the brain and nervous system work

More wonders await in the nervous system. which is divided into two parts or "circuits". There is the central nervous system, which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. The other major section, the peripheral nervous system is, quite simply, everything else — branch-like bundles of nerves that extend off through the skin, trunk, arms and hands, legs and feet.

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All report back through the spinal chord to the brain in a huge sensory stream that is ready to transmit stimuli 24/7. Interestingly, the eyes and ears are the only two organs that skip the main circuitry of the spinal chord to report directly to the brain. This is why those who suffer spinal chord injuries are still able to see and hear.

Brain food? Use your head

A little common sense is all that is needed to keep both brain and nerves functioning properly day to day, and just like any other organ requires equal amounts of proper rest and nutrition.

Although the brain is primarily fueled by glucose (produced in the body by carbohydrates) this doesn't mean the brain and nervous system will benefit by lots of pretzels and sugary soft drinks. Like most organs and tissues in our bodies, caring for them comes down in large part to eating a balanced diet with a range of protein, fats and carbs, (along with recent research showing a beneficial effect of exercise on the brain.)

Studies have also shown foods high in B-complex vitamins are especially beneficial to the nervous system for both elevating energy levels as well as helping nerves to heal from such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatic nerve damage.

More about the human brain & nervous system around the Web:

The Brain & Nervous System
- Information on their functions and interactions, video and interactive presentations, with a library of related story articles.

Your Brain from Top to Bottom - Canadian Institute of Health Research guide with information on parts of the brain and nervous system, interactive illustrations, with drill down menu offering beginner, intermediate and advanced information.

Understanding How the Brain Works - Engaging overview from a professional neuropsychologist explaining chemical and electrical impulses that power the brain, as well as its physical construction and parts controlling movement, speech & memory.

Neuroscience for Kids - The complete online course, covering the parts of the brain and nervous system and how they work, related nutrition guides, and more on neurological and mental disorders, and the effects of drugs on the nervous system.


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