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6 Ways that Your Nervous System is Like a Tree and 1 Big Difference

In the last post, we took a close up view of the structure and function of your nervous system.

This post describes the structure of your nervous system from a more global perspective, using a tree as an analogy.

6 Ways that Your Nervous System is Like a Tree

tree

  1. Just like a tree has three main parts: a crown, a trunk, and a root system, so the nervous system has three main parts: a brain, a spinal cord, and all the nerves that go to and from your spinal cord to the rest of your body.
  2. Just like a tree is able to send water and nutrients from the roots to the crown and vice versa, you can send messages from your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa.
  3. Just like the roots of a tree begin as small individual roots spread over a wide area, your nervous system begins as individual cells called neurons that are spread all throughout your body.
  4. Just like the small roots of a tree join together into bigger and bigger roots as they get closer to the tree trunk, your neurons join together into bigger and bigger bundles, called nerves, as they get closer to the spinal cord.
  5. Just like all the roots of the tree join together to form the trunk, your nerves all join together into one big bundle called the spinal cord.
  6. Just like the branches of a tree split off the trunk and spread out throughout the crown, your nerves diverge again at the top end of your spinal cord and spread throughout your brain.

The Big Difference

  1. Unlike a tree where the branches don’t connect to each other, the various centres of your brain are extremely interconnected. This allows your brain to integrate many different pieces of information.

In our next post, we will use what we have learnt so far to explain what happens in your nervous system when somebody tickles you.

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