in Neural Control and Coordination (Nervous System) by

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The following are the two major functions of the spinal cord:

  1. It acts as a pathway fro conduction of nerve impulses to and from the brain and different parts of the body.
  2. Spinal cord controls spinal reflexes and minimize the load of the brain.

The spinal cord receives the impulse or the information from the afferent nerve from the sensory receptor of the whole body, and forwards it to the brain. The spinal cord also carries the information from the brain via efferent nerves of the whole body (muscles and glands). Spinal cord also coordinates the reflexes, where there is no involvement of the brain. Hence, we can say that communicative and integrative both the functions are there in the spinal cord.

There are some other important functions of the spinal cord:

  • Control over the reflex action, where there is no involvement of the brain. Thus, lowering the workload of the brain.
  • These reflex action are automatic, involuntary, inborn and unlearned reflexes.
  • These reflexes are so prepared as they can be done when suddenly needed and have intention of protecting oneself or his organ from any danger coming.
  • Example: If a student in a class is throwing chalk piece over the other student, the victim will move his body in order to protect from the chalk piece from getting hurt. Thus, reflex arc is the pathway by which this reflex action runs.
  • The reflex arc includes:
  1. Sensory receptor
  2. Sensory neurons
  3. Integrating center
  4. Motor neuron
  5. Effector neuron
  6. Organs.
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