Introduction to the Central Nervous System

  • Stanley Jacobson
  • Elliott M. Marcus
  • Stanley Pugsley


The brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system. The brain is the part of the central nervous system that is housed in the cranium/skull. It consists of the brain stem, diencephalon, cerebellum, and cerebrum. At the foramen magnum, the highest cervical segment of the spinal cord is continuous with the lowest level of the medulla of the brain stem. The spinal nerves from the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical levels of the spinal cord form the lower part of the peripheral nervous system and record general sensations of pain, temperature touch, and pressure. The 12 cranial nerves attached to the brain form the upper part of the peripheral nervous system and record general sensations of pain, temperature touch, and pressure, but in addition we now find the presence of the special senses of smell, vision, hearing, balance, and taste. The blood supply to the brain originates from the first major arterial branches from the heart insuring that over 20% of the entire supply of oxygenated blood flows directly into the brain.


Neuron Glia Spinal cord Brain Brain stem Cerebellum Diencephalon Basal ganglia Cerebrum Lobes of the cerebrum Cases 


  1. Denny-Brown D. Handbook of neurological examination and case recording. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1957.Google Scholar
  2. Edelman ER, Warach J. Medical progress—magnetic resonance imaging. N Eng J Med. 1993;328:708, 716, 785–91.Google Scholar
  3. Greenberg JO, editor. Neuroimaging: a companion to Adams and Victor’s principles of neurology. 2nd ed. New York: Mc Graw Hill; 1999. p. 821.Google Scholar
  4. Johanson DC, Wong K. Lucy’s legacy; the quest for human origins. New York: Harmony Books; 2009.Google Scholar
  5. Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessell TM. Principles of neurosciences. 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill; 2000.Google Scholar
  6. Marcus EM, Jacobson S, Sabin T. Integrated neuroscience. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2013.Google Scholar
  7. Martin JH, Brust JCM, Hilal S. Imaging the living brain. In: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Niedermeyer E, Lopes Da Silva F, editors. 1991. 1999.Google Scholar
  8. Nolte J. The human brain. St Louis: Mosby; 1990.Google Scholar
  9. Tatersall I. Human origins; out of Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2009;106:16018–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Jacobson
    • 1
  • Elliott M. Marcus
    • 2
  • Stanley Pugsley
    • 3
  1. 1.BostonUSA
  2. 2.Jamaica PlainUSA
  3. 3.South Abington Twp.USA

Personalised recommendations