Introduction and Course Objectives

The brain is made up of discrete cellular elements. There are two types of cell which make up the brain - neurons and glia. There are between 1011 and 1012 nerve cells in the human brain and each cell Can have up to 103, or 104 connections to other cells. It is these connections and the interactions of the nerve cells which enable learning, remembering, abstraction and much more.

The function of glial cells (neuroglia) is not fully understood, but is thought to be a supporting function to the neuron. They do not appear to be involved directly in information processing. They are more numerous than neurons and fill up the space between them, providing a structural framework for neurons, especially during brain development.

The neuron has been studied in far more depth and most of the rest of this paper will consider these cells and how they are combined into the nervous system.

In this course, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology as relevant to physical, occupational, and therapy will be reviewed in depth. This course is presented in a clear and concise format that may be used later as a reference. Therapists should have a working, knowledge of the following areas:

a. Gross anatomical structure of the human brain and spinal cord
b. Cellular physiology of neurons and peripheral nerves
c. Interconnections of the various neural subsystems
d. The functional organization of the nervous system
e. Strategy for localizing neurological disease processes
f. Introduction to selected clinical neurological disorders.
g. Comparing types of neurotransmitters.
h. Identifying degenerative disorders
i. The functions of cranial and spinal nerves.

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