The brain and the spinal cord make up what is called the central nervous system. The rest of the nerves together are called the peripheral nervous system.
Nerves - Peripheral Nervous System
Nerves are sort of like wires that carry communication signals or impulses around the body. Inside each nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers. Some nerves are really long, like the ones that go all the way from your feet to your spinal cord. Nerve cells are called neurons.
There are two main types of nerves: motor nerves and sensory nerves.
In each case, the signals only go in one direction: The motor nerve signals travel from the brain to the muscle and the sensory nerve signals travel from the senses to the brain.
Each nerve is made up of many cells called neurons. To learn more about neurons, let's take the motor neuron for example. Each motor neuron has three important parts: the cell body, dendrites, and the axon. Dendrites are branches off the main cell body. They talk to dendrites from the cell next to them over something called a synapse. Axons connect to the muscles and tell them what to do.
Our bodies are super smart. Sometimes we need to move so fast that our brains don't have time to think. So our body just bypasses the brain. This happens when we touch something hot. Our hand actually moves before the brain tells it to. The brain eventually finds out what is going on, but our body has done the smart thing and moved first. Your doctor will test out your reflex by hitting your knee in a certain place to see if your leg will move without you thinking about it.
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