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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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Major sensory and motor systems

Major sensory and motor systems

(p.138) 16 Major sensory and motor systems
Anatomy for Dental Students

Martin E. Atkinson

Oxford University Press

The previous chapter provided an overview of the anatomy of the CNS, concentrating on structures that can be seen during dissection of the human brain and spinal cord or the study of anatomical models of these structures. Some indication of the function of different components of the CNS has been given in Chapter 15, but this chapter shows how the various anatomical components of the CNS are functionally linked together through sensory and motor pathways. These pathways enable the nervous system to convey information over considerable distances, to integrate the information, and formulate functional responses that coordinate activities of different parts of the body. It will be necessary to introduce some other structures in addition to those described in Chapter 15 during the description of major pathways; most are not visible to the naked eye and even when seen in microscopical sections, they require considerable practice to distinguish them. However, they are important landmarks or relay stations in the central nervous pathways and you need to know of them for a full understanding of pathways. As emphasized in Chapter 14, our views of the structure and function of many aspects of the nervous system are constantly subject to revision in the light of new clinical and experimental observations and methods of investigation. This applies to nerve pathways just as much as any other aspect of the nervous system. This chapter presents a summary of current views on somatic sensory and motor functions and their application to the practice of dentistry. The special sensory pathways of olfaction, vision, and hearing are described in Chapter 18 in the context of the cranial nerves that form the first part of these pathways. The information conveyed from the periphery by the sensory components of spinal and cranial nerves is destined to reach the cerebral cortex or the cerebellum. You will be conscious of sensory information that reaches the cerebral cortex, but mostly unaware of information that does not travel to the cortex. However, this does not mean that sensory information that does not attain cortical levels is of no value. For example, sensory neurons or their collateral processes form the afferent limbs of many reflex arcs.

Keywords:   acupuncture, biceps, cerebellar ataxia, dopamine, encapsulated nerve endings, first pain, gracile fasciculus, hypoglossal nuclei, intention tremor, lateral corticospinal tracts

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