The Brain and Spinal Cord

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By: Eileen Prigal, Rikki Waterman, and Victoria Long . The Brain and Spinal Cord. A poem about the brain. A brain is like A runn'n train, Without it you Will go insane, It wiggles and Works, thinks And learns, Who has the smartest brain, All the people that have a name. Written by R.T.
By: Eileen Prigal, Rikki Waterman, and Victoria Long The Brain and Spinal Cord A poem about the brain A brain is likeA runn'n train,Without it youWill go insane,It wiggles andWorks, thinksAnd learns,Who has thesmartest brain,All the peoplethat have a name. Written by R.T Brain and Spinal Cord
  • Your brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system. Together, they control your body -- but it's the brain which is Commander-in-chief.
  • The spinal cord is the main pathway for information connecting the brain and peripheral nervous system.
  • Imagine your brain giving commands to all of the other body parts. The spine is the roadway for the information to follow to get to the right destination. Sensory information can then be carried to the brain through the spinal cord.
  • Position of Brain and Nerve Cord Functions of the Brain Left vs. Right Side of the Brain Functions of the Spinal CordThe Spine carries sensory information to the brain and then carries motor information out of the brain. Brain and Spinal Cord Development: Prenatal Period Brain:
  • The formation of neurons in the brain begins very early. Within 5 weeks after conception, the cells in the brain begin dividing to form all of the neurons an infant has at birth. Spine:
  • Within 12 days of the eggs fertilization, the layer of cells that will create the spine are already distinct.
  • When the embryo is 6-7 weeks old, ossification-or bone formation-begins. The groups of cells harden and eventual become the vertebrae.
  • When the baby is in the womb their spine is in a “C” shape.
  • Newborn Brain:
  • The infant brain weights between 2/3 and ¾ of a pound and contains 100 billion neurons.
  • The newborn brain grows very rapidly.
  • Neurons all over the brain start making connections. This is called Synaptogenesis. Spine: The spine changes quite a bit the first few months of a babies life.
  • When a baby is first born it’s spine is in a “C” configuration. This is also referred to as the primary curve.
  • As the infant grows& is able to hold his or her head up the first secondary curve develops which is the arch of the neck.
  • The second secondary curve develops as the baby begins to crawl. This is the arch in the
  • Early Childhood Brain:
  • By the fourth year of life the brain increases to 80% of it’s adult weight. This increase in size is due to myelination, which is the forming of a coating of fatty substances known as myelin on the axon of a neuron.
  • During the early and middle childhood years pruning occurs. Pruning is the refining of the connections of synapses in the brain based on experiences. Spine:
  • Once children begin to walk and run the “C” shape of the spine changes into an “S” shape. The spine remains this way through adulthood.
  • Adolescence
  • An adolescence brain reaches it’s adult weight around age 14, which is around 3 pounds.
  • During adolescence there is an increased activity in the frontal lobe. Adulthood
  • In adulthood the human brain is still changing but not as drastically as in it’s younger years.
  • In adulthood, the rate of synapse formation is much slower then during childhood.
  • Aging Brain:
  • As humans age, their brain weight decreases.
  • On average, the brain loses between 5 and 10% of it’s weight between the ages of 20 and 90.
  • The grooves on the surface of the brain widen and the swellings on the surface become smaller. Spine:
  • As people get older the disks between the backbones become hard and brittle. This may cause the vertebrae to overgrow which results in more pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves around it.
  • Examples of Damage and Disease to the Brain
  • Traumatic Brain Injury:
  • This can result from the head suddenly hitting a hard object or when an object pierces the skull and damages brain tissue.
  • Symptoms can range from mild to severe. TBI can cause trouble with memory, concentration, thinking and may increase agitation.
  • There is no way of reversing the effects of TBI.
  • Brain Tumors:
  • There is no known cause of brain tumors. They can arise from brain cells, membranes around the brain, nerves or glands.
  • Depending on where in the brain the tumor occurs, the functions of that area could be affected. For example, if the tumor is located near the parietal lobe, the affected person could have trouble with speech.
  • Treatment can require surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Some tumors may not respond to chemotherapy or radiation and may be inoperable, in which case there is no treatment.
  • Damage to the Spinal Cord Since the Spinal Cord has many important functions, damage to the spinal cord can have many negative consequences.
  • Damage to the spinal cord can be caused in several different ways. The spinal cord can be injured through car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and many other ways. Older people with Osteoporosis are more at risk of spinal cord injury.
  • The effects of the damage depend on where the injury took place and how severe the injury was.
  • In a “Complete Injury” function below the affected level is lost.
  • In an “Incomplete Injury” some sensation or movement is retained.
  • Injury at certain levels of the spinal cord can also lead to:
  • Problems breathing
  • Problems regulating heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and body temperature
  • spasticity
  • Disease
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spina Bifida is a birth defect cause by incomplete closure of the neural tube during prenatal growth. This causes some vertebrae to remain unfused and open. This can lead to part of the spinal cord protruding through the bones.
  • can often cause hydrocephalus (water in the brain. Many people with Spina Bifida also develop latex allergies.
  • Spina Bifida can be surgically fixed after birth but this will not give back normal function to the affected part of the spine.
  • Transverse Myelitis
  • Transverse Myelitis is a disorder caused by inflammation of 1 or more segments of the spinal cord.
  • The inflammation can affect the function of the inflamed segment and the ones located below it.
  • Although there is no cure for Transverse Myelitis, corticosteroid therapy can reduce inflammation if started during the first few weeks of illness.
  • How Do Children Perceive the Brain??? Andrew, age 4 says, “My brain is in my head.” Cool FactsThe Brain
  • Each side of the brain controls opposite sides of your body
  • Is over three times as big as the brain of other mammals that are of similar body size...
  • …But it only weighs 3 pounds
  • Can survive without oxygen for 4-6 minutes before it starts to die
  • Each person has about the same number of brain cells at birth as in adulthood, but those cells grow, reaching maximum size at about age six.
  • It's not your brain that's hurting when you get a headache – without pain receptors, your brain can't feel any pain.
  • Your brain knows when you tickle yourself, which is why you don’t bend over laughing.
  • It’s not true that humans only use 10% of their brains; each part of the brain has a purpose.
  • When you sleep, you’re virtually paralyzed because your brain creates a hormone to prevent you from acting out your dreams.
  • Has 100 billion neurons
  • Interesting FactsThe Spinal Cord
  • Giraffes and humans both have seven vertebrae in their necks!
  • It is the route for all nerve signals travelling between the brain and the body
  • The spinal cord can actually work independently of the brain, sending out responses to the muscles directly.
  • Your spinal cord is about 43 cm long and I cm thick. It stops growing when you are about five years old.
  • Me either! Wow! I did not know that! To learn more about the human brain, visit Take a look at this human brain video and learn more about the highly complex organ that controls our thoughts and movements. Find out how the brain works by going inside it with medical scanners, see that the brain features specialized areas for different tasks such as memory, speech, movement, sounds and imagination. Get a close up look at brain cells known as neurons that process and send information by chemical and electrical signals. Check out this great video and learn more about the human brain. *You will need to upgrade to the newest version of Adobe Flash Player* To learn more about the spinal cord, visit The spine is an important part of the human body that needs to be both strong and flexible. Check out this informative human spine anatomy video which gives an overview of what exactly it is as well as its role in a functioning human body. The column of bones that make up the spine also protect the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves and cells that connect to the brain, forming the central nervous system. Individual bones in the spine are known as vertebrae, these vertebrae are connected together by facet joints at the back of the spine. There are five sections of vertebrae which include the cervical, thoracic, lumber, sacral and coccygeal (tailbone). Watch the video to learn more. *You will need to upgrade to the newest version of Adobe Flash Player* Fun Game about the Brain:Colors, Colors
  • How do words influence what we see (or say we see)?
  • The famous "Stroop Effect" is named after J. Ridley Stroop who discovered this strange phenomenon in the 1930s. Here is your job: name the colors of the following words. Do NOT read the words...rather, say the color of the words. For example, if the word "BLUE" is printed in a red color, you should say "RED". Say the colors as fast as you can. It is not as easy as you might think!
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