What is spinal cord?

  • (noun): A major part of the central nervous system which conducts sensory and motor nerve impulses to and from the brain; a long tube-like structure extending from the base of the brain through the vertebral canal to the upper lumbar region.
    Synonyms: medulla spinalis

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain (the medulla oblongata specifically). The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system (CNS). The spinal cord begins at the occipital bone and extends down to the space between the first and second lumbar vertebrae; it does not extend the entire length of the vertebral column. It is around 45 cm (18 in) in men and around 43 cm (17 in) long in women. Also, the spinal cord has a varying width, ranging from 1/2 inch thick in the cervical and lumbar regions to 1/4 inch thick in the thoracic area. The enclosing bony vertebral column protects the relatively shorter spinal cord. The spinal cord functions primarily in the transmission of neural signals between the brain and the rest of the body but also contains neural circuits that can independently control numerous reflexes and central pattern generators. The spinal cord has three major functions: as a conduit for motor information, which travels down the spinal cord, as a conduit for sensory information in the reverse direction, and finally as a center for coordinating certain reflexes.

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Some articles on spinal cord:

List Of Multiple Sclerosis Organizations - South America - Brazil
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Surfer's Myelopathy
... It is a spinal cord injury caused by hyperextension of the back ... is hyperextended, a blood vessel leading to the spine can become kinked, depriving the spinal cord of oxygen ... For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as "a stroke of the spinal cord." The condition gets its name because the phenomenon is most often seen in ...
Specified Risk Material - BSE - BSE SRMs
... BSE SRMs distal ilieum spinal cord vertebrae column skull brain eye tonsil In both the United States (U.S.) and Canada, considered as controlled Risk countries, SRMs are defined as skull, brain ... and intestines in cattle at all ages brains, eyes, spinal cord, skull and vertebral column from animals over twelve months of age ...
Spinal F MRI
... Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the spinal cord (spinal fMRI) is an adaptation of the fMRI method that has been developed for use in the brain (1) ... the basic principles underlying the methods are the same, spinal fMRI requires a number of specific adaptations to accommodate the periodic motion of the spinal cord, the small ... Spinal fMRI has been used to produce maps of neuronal activity at most levels of the spinal cord in response to various stimuli, such as touch, vibration, and thermal changes, and with motor tasks ...
Spinal Cord - Additional Images
... Diagrams of the spinal cord Cross-section through the spinal cord at the mid-thoracic level Cross-sections of the spinal cord at varying levels Cross-sec ...

Famous quotes containing the word cord:

    Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
    Bible: Hebrew Ecclesiastes, 4:9-12.