The Sensitive Nervous System Chapter II: A Bird’s Eye View of the Nervous System

This is Chapter II summary of “The Sensitive Nervous System.” Intro Here we develop a framework for understanding the nervous system with pain as the centerpiece. The nervous system is very much misunderstood as an input/output system: Myth: Input/output system. Reality: The nervous system is an active activity constructor. It evolves and learns rather than computes. It is    also widely distributed without a master neuron pool for a particular sensation. The nervous system is made up of two components, hardware and wetware. The Hardware Neurons make up the hardware. These components respond and keep a chemical history of many different inputs and outputs. This is true for each individual neuron, which allows each one to be ready to go when called upon. This hardware is one time when the part actual does equal the whole, as one neuron’s activity resembles the entire Central Nervous System’s (CNS) behavior. The nervous system’s size is near-astronomical. There are approximately 100 billion neurons with 1014 synapses. This figure only factors in the functionally known nervous system components. If we throw in 103 nodes/centers (connected by 105 pathways) and the 10:1 glial cell:neuron ratio, and we have an incredibly dense system in place. A pinhead speck of brain tissue has 350 million connections. This hardware is also very redundant, as very few neurons go straight from sensory organ to cortex.  There are several feedback loops in place which allows for constant checking and rechecking. The Wetware Wetware includes the different neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Examples

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