The Nervous System and the Brain

Brain and brain injury booklet cover

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The brain is a very important and complex organ in our nervous system.

The nervous system is divided into two main parts that work together – the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System.

The Central Nervous System is made up of the brain and spinal cord.  They work together like a control centre which sends and receives messages to, and from, the rest of the body.

Central nervous system diagram

The Peripheral Nervous System allows us to control our muscles.  It also controls vital body systems as as our heart rate and breathing

peripheral nervous system diagram

Nerve Cells (Neurons)

There are about 100 billion nerve cells in the human brain.  The communicate with each other through electrical and chemical messages.  In this booklet we refer to nerve cells in the brain as ‘brain cells.’

Each brain cell has a cell body, a long fibre called axon and extensions called dendrites.  The Dendrites bring messages to the cell body. The Cell Body processes the messages and the Axon takes information away from the cell body.  This system allows brain cells to communicate with each other

diagram of neuron