Anatomy & Physiology 13 Nervous System Anatomy


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Anatomy & Physiology 13 Nervous System Anatomy
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Sample Questions from the Anatomy & Physiology 13 Nervous System Anatomy Flashcards

Question: Watch this video ( that describes the procedure known as the lumbar puncture, a medical procedure used to sample the CSF. Because of the anatomy of the CNS, it is a relative safe location to insert a needle. Why is the lumbar puncture performed in the lower lumbar area of the vertebral column?


The spinal cord ends in the upper lumbar area of the vertebral column, so a needle inserted lower than that will not damage the nervous tissue of the CNS.

Question: Watch this video ( to learn about the white matter in the cerebrum that develops during childhood and adolescence. This is a composite of MRI images taken of the brains of people from 5 years of age through 20 years of age, demonstrating how the cerebrum changes. As the color changes to blue, the ratio of gray matter to white matter changes. The caption for the video describes it as "less gray matter," which is another way of saying "more white matter." If the brain does not finish developing until approximately 20 years of age, can teenagers be held responsible for behaving badly?


This is really a matter of opinion, but there are ethical issues to consider when a teenager's behavior results in legal trouble.

Question: Figure 13.22 To what structures in a skeletal muscle are the endoneurium, perineurium, and epineurium comparable?


Figure 13.22 The endoneurium surrounding individual nerve fibers is comparable to the endomysium surrounding myofibrils, the perineurium bundling axons into fascicles is comparable to the perimysium bundling muscle fibers into fascicles, and the epineurium surrounding the whole nerve is comparable to the epimysium surrounding the muscle.

Question: Figure 13.20 If you zoom in on the DRG, you can see smaller satellite glial cells surrounding the large cell bodies of the sensory neurons. From what structure do satellite cells derive during embryologic development?


Figure 13.20 They derive from the neural crest.

Question: Watch this video ( to learn about the gray matter of the spinal cord that receives input from fibers of the dorsal (posterior) root and sends information out through the fibers of the ventral (anterior) root. As discussed in this video, these connections represent the interactions of the CNS with peripheral structures for both sensory and motor functions. The cervical and lumbar spinal cords have enlargements as a result of larger populations of neurons. What are these enlargements responsible for?


There are more motor neurons in the anterior horns that are responsible for movement in the limbs. The cervical enlargement is for the arms, and the lumbar enlargement is for the legs.

Question: Watch this video ( to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the direct pathway is the shorter pathway through the system that results in increased activity in the cerebral cortex and increased motor activity. The direct pathway is described as resulting in "disinhibition" of the thalamus. What does disinhibition mean? What are the two neurons doing individually to cause this?


Both cells are inhibitory. The first cell inhibits the second one. Therefore, the second cell can no longer inhibit its target. This is disinhibition of that target across two synapses.

Question: Compared with the nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, the human has a brain that is huge. At a point in the past, a common ancestor gave rise to the two species of humans and chimpanzees. That evolutionary history is long and is still an area of intense study. But something happened to increase the size of the human brain relative to the chimpanzee. Read this article ( in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened. According to one hypothesis about the expansion of brain size, what tissue might have been sacrificed so energy was available to grow our larger brain? Based on what you know about that tissue and nervous tissue, why would there be a trade-off between them in terms of energy use?


Energy is needed for the brain to develop and perform higher cognitive functions. That energy is not available for the muscle tissues to develop and function. The hypothesis suggests that humans have larger brains and less muscle mass, and chimpanzees have the smaller brains but more muscle mass.

Question: Watch this animation ( that shows the flow of CSF through the brain and spinal cord, and how it originates from the ventricles and then spreads into the space within the meninges, where the fluids then move into the venous sinuses to return to the cardiovascular circulation. What are the structures that produce CSF and where are they found? How are the structures indicated in this animation?


The choroid plexuses of the ventricles make CSF. As shown, there is a little of the blue color appearing in each ventricle that is joined by the color flowing from the other ventricles.

Question: Watch this animation ( to examine the development of the brain, starting with the neural tube. As the anterior end of the neural tube develops, it enlarges into the primary vesicles that establish the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. Those structures continue to develop throughout the rest of embryonic development and into adolescence. They are the basis of the structure of the fully developed adult brain. How would you describe the difference in the relative sizes of the three regions of the brain when comparing the early (25th embryonic day) brain and the adult brain? ( in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened.


The three regions (forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain) appear to be approximately equal in size when they are first established, but the midbrain in the adult is much smaller than the others-suggesting that it does not increase in size nearly as much as the forebrain or hindbrain.

Question: Watch this animation ( to see how blood flows to the brain and passes through the circle of Willis before being distributed through the cerebrum. The circle of Willis is a specialized arrangement of arteries that ensure constant perfusion of the cerebrum even in the event of a blockage of one of the arteries in the circle. The animation shows the normal direction of flow through the circle of Willis to the middle cerebral artery. Where would the blood come from if there were a blockage just posterior to the middle cerebral artery on the left?


If blood could not get to the middle cerebral artery through the posterior circulation, the blood would flow around the circle of Willis to reach that artery from an anterior vessel. Blood flow would just reverse within the circle.

Question: Watch this video ( to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the indirect pathway is the longer pathway through the system that results in decreased activity in the cerebral cortex, and therefore less motor activity. The indirect pathway has an extra couple of connections in it, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus. What is the end result on the thalamus, and therefore on movement initiated by the cerebral cortex?


By disinhibiting the subthalamic nucleus, the indirect pathway increases excitation of the globus pallidus internal segment. That, in turn, inhibits the thalamus, which is the opposite effect of the direct pathway that disinhibits the thalamus.

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Disclaimer:  This course does NOT provide the education or experience needed for the diagnosing or treating any medical condition, all site contents are provided as general information only and should not be taken as medical advice.
Source:  OpenStax College. Anatomy & Physiology, OpenStax-CNX Web site., Jun 11, 2014
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