Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Autonomic Nervous System

  • Scott VotaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_296


Internal regulation system; Involuntary nervous system; Visceral nervous system


The autonomic nervous system is a complex and vital system that helps to maintain homeostasis and adaptation throughout the human body. It is composed of both central and peripheral components that provide thermoregulation, arterial blood pressure adaptation, as well as alterations in regional blood flow in response to metabolic demands, micturition, gastrointestinal motility, and sexual function.

Current Knowledge

Central Component

The central components of the autonomic nervous system are located within the cerebral cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and cerebellum. These components are integrally connected via a network of ascending and descending pathways (see Fig. 1). This provides a high level of control over autonomic function. These interconnections ultimately descend to specific cells within the brainstem and spinal cord. The thoracolumbar outflow consists of fibers...
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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA