Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.
The human spinal cord
The human nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The spinal cord is contained in the bones that make up the vertebral column. Your spinal cord is about 45cm long. At the top and the bottom, it’s as thick as the tip of your baby finger, and maybe half that wide in the middle and is shaped like a slightly flattened circle.
The main spinal cord functions are: -
Motor Function tells muscles to do their work - to make fine movements such as moving our toes or gross movements such as running, walking and kicking.
Sensory Function is the part of the nervous system responsible for processing what we feel or otherwise detect – such as vision, hearing and touch or feeling.
Autonomic Function is the part of your nervous system that controls involuntary actions, such as the beating of your heart and the widening or narrowing of your blood vessels.
The human nervous system
There are two main parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The system contains cells called neurons that communicate via rapid transmission of either electrical or chemical signals and it coordinates voluntary and involuntary bodily actions.
The brain and spinal cord are in the CNS. The PNS connects the CNS to other parts of the body. It does this via neurons that have extensions called axons (nerve fibres). The function of the axon is to transmit signals to different neurons located in other parts of the body. Some of these signals travel at over 100 m/s.
There are 3 different types of neuron that work together:
Using their axons, motor neurons can speak to other neurons. But some of them can also speak directly to muscles and that neuron is called a motor neuron.
Sensory neurons have two axons, one of which heads out into your body, where it’s attached to a particular part of you — say, the bottom of your toe. At the end of that axon are receptors that can feel the difference between an itch, a sharp poke, or a caress. The receptor shoots that information directly back to your spinal cord, where one of a number of things can happen.
Interneurons are like very fast translators, ensuring that the sensory neurons can talk to motor neurons.
To read more about Mark’s experience visit http://www.markpollocktrust.org/blog/
We also have some videos with Reggie and of the study here.
Training with Electrical Stimulation in Lab - October 2015, https://youtu.be/IK7gcNxtY28
Unbreakable: Meet Dr. Reggie Edgerton PhD, https://youtu.be/CMPqf2lEV2E and
Completely paralyzed man voluntarily moves his legs, UCLA scientists report,