Introduction to The Nervous System and the Endocrine System

What you’ll learn to do: describe the role of the nervous system and endocrine systems

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In this section, you’ll learn about the basics of the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, as well as the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is comprised of the somatic and autonomic nervous systems. The somatic nervous system transmits sensory and motor signals to and from the central nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls the function of our organs and glands, and can be divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. Sympathetic activation prepares us for fight or flight, while parasympathetic activation is associated with normal functioning under relaxed conditions. The endocrine system consists of a series of glands that produce chemical substances known as hormones, which produce widespread effects on the body. Got all that? We’ll review each of these systems in the coming pages.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the differences between the central and peripheral nervous systems and the somatic and autonomic nervous systems
  • Differentiate between the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system
  • Describe the endocrine system and explain its primary responsibilities within the body

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