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Anatomy for Dental Students$
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Martin E. Atkinson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199234462

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199234462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Introduction to the central nervous system

Introduction to the central nervous system

(p.108) (p.109) 14 Introduction to the central nervous system
Anatomy for Dental Students

Martin E. Atkinson

Oxford University Press

Dental students and practitioners need a working knowledge of the central nervous system (CNS) for several reasons. • A general knowledge of the structure and function of the nervous system is required to understand the major roles it plays in controlling body functions. • The cranial nerves innervating the head and neck, including the oral cavity, underpin all functions in these areas; knowledge of these nerves, including their connections to the CNS is vital to understanding the anatomy and physiology of this region. • Clinically, dental students and practitioners will frequently encounter patients suffering from one or other of the many diseases affecting the central and peripheral nervous system. Satisfactory dental management of such patients requires some understanding of their illness which in turn requires knowledge of the general structure of the nervous system. The anatomy of the nervous system was described long before we understood much of its function. Like all other parts of the body, everything is named; some of the names seem to defy the logic of anatomical nomenclature used to describe structures elsewhere in the body introduced in Chapter 1. Some of the structures visible to the naked eye were named by their fanciful resemblance to everyday objects such as olives; their names, therefore, bear no resemblance to their function. However, the nerve tracts that connect different areas to form functional pathways are described using a consistent system of naming. Only the most important structures that can be observed in dissected brains or form important landmarks in functional pathways are included in these chapters on the nervous system. It is important to appreciate that much of the detailed structure of the brain can only be observed microscopically. Special microscopical methods are required to show its structure and even then, a practised eye is required to interpret them. Nevertheless, it does help to know the outline of how the connections and functions of the nervous system have been investigated to understand how we have arrived at our present level of knowledge. Initially, careful clinical observations of signs and symptoms prior to death were correlated with post-mortem changes in the brain.

Keywords:   action potential, brainstem, cerebellum, dendrites, glia, hypothalamus, motor pathways, neuroglia, oligodendrocytes, pons

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