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QQI Level 5 Anatomy and Physiology 5N0749 -Unit 6: The Nervous and Endocrine Systems Assignment Example

The nervous system and the endocrine system are two important systems in the body. The nervous system is responsible for sending messages to and from the brain, and the endocrine system is responsible for releasing hormones into the bloodstream.

The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The brain is responsible for controlling all the activities of the body, and the spinal cord is responsible for sending messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Nerves are responsible for carrying these messages.

The endocrine system consists of a variety of glands, which release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemicals that control the activities of cells in the body.

In this unit, we will look at the structure and function of the nervous system and the endocrine system.

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Learning Outcomes of The Nervous and Endocrine Systems

When you have studied this unit, you will be able to:

Understand the nervous system and its parts and functions

The nervous system is a complex system. It consists of the brain, spinal cord, and a network of nerves that spread throughout the body. Stimuli from all over the body are collected by a nerve, and then it sends a message to the brain. The brain processes this information and sends messages back to certain parts of the body through another nerve or more precisely, through a nerve impulse.

The brain consists of four parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, the medulla oblongata, and the pons. Together these parts are responsible for all activities that involve thinking and feeling. The spinal cord is a long tube-like structure that sends messages between the rest of the body and the brain.

Nerves are responsible for carrying messages between the brain and the rest of the body. There are three types of nerves: sensory nerves, motor nerves, and autonomic nerves. Sensory nerves carry messages from the body to the brain, motor nerves carry messages from the brain to the muscles, and autonomic nerves control all the automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate and digestion.

Differentiate between the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the automatic nervous system

The nervous system can be divided into two parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord, whereas the PNS consists of all other nerves in the body. The automatic nervous system (ANS) is another important part of the nervous system.

  • The central nervous system is responsible for the control and coordination of all the activities in the body. It consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain is divided into four parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, and pons. These parts are responsible for thinking, feeling, movement, and other important functions. The spinal cord is a long tube that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
  • The peripheral nervous system consists of all other nerves in the body except for those in the CNS. The PNS has two divisions: sensory and motor nerves. Sensory nerves carry information from different parts of the body to the CNS, and motor nerves carry messages from the CNS to different parts of the body.
  • The automatic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for controlling many automatic functions of the body, such as heart rate and digestion. The ANS has two divisions: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These two systems control different kinds of activities in our bodies, so they are sometimes called the “fight or flight” system and the “rest and digest” system.

Explain how reflex action occurs and give an example

Reflex action means that when something happens in the body, the reflex arc is activated. A stimulus (trigger) activates a receptor, which sends nerve impulses to the CNS. The brain then sends messages back through motor neurons to certain parts of the body, resulting in a specific response (action). Reflexes allow us to respond quickly to danger without having to think about it.

An example of a reflex is the knee-jerk reflex. When someone taps your knee, the receptor in your knee is activated, and this sends nerve impulses to the CNS. The CNS then sends messages back to the muscles in your leg, which causes them to contract and make your knee jerk.

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List the functions of the brain

The brain controls all the activities in the body. It is responsible for thinking, feeling, movement, and other important functions. The brain is divided into four parts: the cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, and pons. These parts are responsible for different activities in the body. The cerebrum is responsible for thinking, the pons is responsible for sleeping and arousal, the medulla oblongata is responsible for regulating heart rate and breathing, and the cerebellum is responsible for movement.

The brain is also responsible for controlling our emotions. The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions. The limbic system contains the hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory, and the amygdala, which is responsible for fear and aggression.

Explain how a nerve impulse travels along with the nervous system

A nerve impulse is a message that is sent through the nervous system. It travels along neural pathways, which are like roads for nerve impulses. The pathway is made up of three parts: the receptor, the neuron, and the effector. The receptor is the part of the body that responds to the stimulus (trigger), the neuron is the part of the nerve that sends the impulse, and the effector is the part of the body that responds to the impulse.

The nerve impulse starts at the receptor. When the receptor is activated, it sends a message to the neuron. The neuron then sends a message to the next neuron, and so on, until it reaches the effector. The nerve impulse travels at a rate of 100 meters per second. This is very fast, and it is why we can respond so quickly to danger.

Differentiate between endocrine and exocrine glands

Endocrine glands are glands that release hormones directly into the bloodstream. Exocrine glands are glands that release their secretions through a duct. Hormones are chemicals that control the activities in the body. They are released by both endocrine and exocrine glands. Endocrine hormones travel through the bloodstream to all parts of the body, while exocrine hormones are released locally to the target organ.

Examples of endocrine glands are the thyroid gland and the pancreas. Examples of exocrine glands are the salivary glands and the sweat glands.

List the position of the endocrine glands

The endocrine system includes many glands. These are some of their locations:

  • Pancreas – behind the stomach in the upper abdomen
  • Pituitary gland – at the base of the brain
  • Thymus gland – in front of the heart
  • Thyroid gland – below the Adam’s apple
  • Parathyroid glands – next to or behind the thyroid gland
  • Adrenal glands – on top of the kidneys
  • Pineal gland – at the very center of the brain
  • Ovaries (female) or testes (male) – inside the pelvic area

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List the hormones produced by each gland and the functions of each hormone

The endocrine glands are the pancreas, pituitary gland, thymus gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pineal gland, and ovaries.

  • The pancreas secretes insulin and glucagon, which control the levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin allows cells to take in glucose from the blood, while glucagon releases glucose from the liver if there is too much glucose in the blood.
  • The pituitary gland secretes growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). Growth hormone stimulates the growth of bones and muscles. TSH stimulates the production of thyroid hormones, which control the body’s metabolism. ACTH stimulates the production of cortisol, which helps to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. FSH and LH promote sperm production in males as well as egg development in females.
  • The thymus gland secretes the hormone thymosin which stimulates T cells within the immune system.
  • The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine and calcitonin which control metabolism and calcium levels in the blood, respectively.
  • The parathyroid glands secrete a parathyroid hormone that controls the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
  • The adrenal glands secrete cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline which help to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and heart rate.
  • The pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin which regulates the body’s circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle).
  • The ovaries secrete estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Explain the role of hormones in the metabolic process e.g. ADH in osmoregulation

Hormones play an important role in the metabolic process. They help to control the activities of the body by regulating the way that cells use energy.

One hormone that is important for osmoregulation is ADH (antidiuretic hormone). ADH helps to regulate the amount of water in the body by controlling how much urine is produced. It does this by affecting the reabsorption of water in the kidneys. When ADH is released, it causes the kidneys to reabsorb more water and produce less urine. This helps to keep the body’s fluid levels balanced.

Another hormone that is important for metabolism is insulin. Insulin helps cells to take in glucose from the bloodstream. This glucose is then used by the cells to produce energy. When there is too much glucose in the blood, insulin helps to reduce the levels of glucose by causing the liver to break down glycogen into glucose.

Hormones also play a role in weight control. The hormone leptin is important for weight control. Leptin is released by fat cells when they are full. This leptin then travels in the blood to the brain, where it helps to suppress appetite and keep weight under control.

An additional hormone that is important for weight control is ghrelin. Ghrelin is secreted in the stomach when it becomes empty, causing hunger pangs in the body.

Outline the effects of over secretion and/or under secretion of the following hormones: insulin, thyroxine, and growth hormone

  • Over secretion of insulin can result in diabetes mellitus. It does this by disrupting carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. The cells cannot take in glucose when there is too much insulin in the blood because the cells are unable to produce enough energy for their own purposes. Cells become resistant to insulin as a result of over secretion, and this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  • Under secretion of thyroxine can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism. This is because thyroxine is responsible for controlling the body’s metabolism. When there is not enough thyroxine, the body’s metabolism slows down and weight gain can result.
  • Under secretion of growth hormone can result in a condition called pituitary dwarfism. This is because growth hormone controls the way that the body creates and uses energy, and therefore affects how tall a person becomes through childhood and adolescence.

Differentiate between a nervous response and a hormonal response

Nervous responses involve the transmission of signals along neurons to the brain, and then back again along other neurons to muscles or glands. Nerve cells are able either to excite or inhibit the target cells they affect. This is known as a neuron’s action potential.

Hormonal responses occur when hormones travel in the blood throughout the body, often being carried by lipoproteins. This means that their effects are felt over a much larger area than the nerves. Hormones can affect almost all cells in the body, letting them know when they need to take part in a particular activity, so hormonal responses tend to be more long-term than nervous responses.

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