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QUIZ: Brain & Nervous System

1. This system controls everything you do:

A) Nervous system
B) Olfactory system
C) Respiratory system
D) Endocrine system
Click for answer

Correct answer: A) Nervous system
The nervous system (NS) is the conductor of the choir which detects changes to your internal environment (your physiology) to help meet challenges from your external environment. E.g. the nerves in the arteries of the neck (carotid body in the carotid artery) detect raised levels of CO2 in the blood stream – the NS then increases the breathing rate and heart rate to decrease the CO2 levels. There is a system to control everything and if it works without interruption your body expresses vitality.

2. Without the nervous system you couldn’t:

A) Walk
B) Think
C) Breathe
D) All of the above Click for answer

D) All of the above
Walking, breathing or thinking would all be impossible without the NS co-ordinating all of these functions. It brings together all functions and various parts of the body to complete complex tasks, earning its name ‘the conductor of the choir’. This is why the focus of chiropractic care is ensuring that the NS is finely tuned.

When a client attends for chiropractic care, far from the chiropractor ‘fixing them’ the chiropractor looks to tune the NS and allow the conductor to co-ordinate and organise the healing process. We call this ability the ‘Innate Healing’ of the body and it can have surprising benefits. Whilst chiropractors can rightly claim to help with lower back pain, sciatica, headaches and a huge variety of problems, clients often report some unusual benefits that seem particular to them. This is because the individual body of the client has had problems adapting to a health challenge. By improving the co-ordination of the nervous system, the chiropractor has helped the client’s own innate healing ability to co-ordinate healing where it was not healing before.

3. The 3 parts of the nervous system are:

A) Brain, heart & spinal cord
B) Brain, spinal cord & nerves
C) Nerves, arteries & veins
D) Nerves, liver & heart Click for answer

B) Brain, spinal cord, and nerves
These three parts can all be directly irritated by the structures of the skull, the spine and, in the case of the nerves of the body, the skeletal structure, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The nervous system, in its three parts, should be seen as a highly interactive structure where nerves send information to the brain and in turn receive instructions to allow correct function and reaction of the body to the initial stimulus. When this feedback becomes jumbled there is a failure in the body’s ability to react in a harmonious and appropriate way – neurological disorganisation. In the case of mechanical failure clients often say, “my back just went out!”

4. What is the biggest part of the brain?

A) Brain stem
B) Think tank
C) Cerebrum
D) Cerebellum Click for answer

C) Cerebrum
The cerebrum is the ridged outer surface of the brain and is the part that has two clear hemispheres. Each area of the cerebrum is responsible for a different function or area of the body, so there is an area responsible for understanding sensation in the feet and an area for sensation in the legs. There are areas for vision, hearing and even for the formation of speech. The brain is a complex interconnected neurological hub and yet it is not properly formed and interconnected at birth. As a child grows the brain forms, beginning with the simple structures of a baby and then as new stimulus arrives new nerve connections form. This is why an infant needs to practice movement, speech and play as the brain makes new connections and develops more brain tissue. The experiences that a child enjoys as they develop allows development of the brain in vastly different ways. This is why limiting television and replacing it with exercise and problem solving games is key to good brain development, memory and intelligence. Important also is chiropractic care. Irritation to the nervous system during development can result in changes to development and function later on.

5. What is the control centre for the nervous system?

A) Spinal cord
B) Stomach
C) Brain
D) Heart Click for answer

Which part of the body is the control centre for the nervous system? C) Brain
The brain is really a number of living computers that are interlinked by complex interactive wiring. The body as a result has inbuilt programming where certain similar or complimentary systems are closely wired, meaning that they often fire together. For example, the ability to make an angry face and scream is linked to muscle contraction, whereas a smile or laughter is linked to muscle relaxation. This is best demonstrated by a ‘tug of war’ event where the team that is serious, looks angry and grunts can exert much more effort than the team that laughs. This is why Dr Jonathan often asks people to smile when adjusting the neck – it creates a subconscious muscle relaxation.

6. How much does the typical brain weigh?

A) 1.4 kg (3 lbs)
B) 85 g (3 oz)
C) 2.7 tonnes (3 tons)
D) 3 kg (6.6 lb) Click for answer

A) 1.4 kilograms (3 lb)
The brain is a hefty structure and interestingly this is the dry weight. The brain of course is a highly vascular organ requiring a significant amount of blood flow to provide O2 and nutrients and to remove waste products. This creates an interesting problem. The brain swells with blood during each heart beat but the skull has a fixed volume. Why doesn’t it get squashed? This problem is solved by the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in which the brain and spinal cord float. As the brain swells with each heart beat the CSF around it is forced out of the skull into the spinal cord and provides an effective pumping mechanism for the CSF. The CSF, like any fluid that is stagnant for a period of time, becomes rich with toxins which irritate the brain and spinal cord. Chiropractic techniques can help restore the movement of this fluid and resolve many difficult complaints.

7. Which part of the brain creates balance?

A) Cerebellum
B) Medulla oblongata
C) Pituitary gland
D) Spinal cord Click for answer

A) Cerebellum
The cerebellum sits at the base of the brain and receives nerve signals reporting balance from all over the body. It is the junction box to and from the brain for all movement and co-ordination. Just like a junction box this mass of interlaced nerves ensures that the messages reach their proper destination, allowing the brain to provide balance. Physical activity has a calming and healing effect on the body because it is sent to the areas of the brain that are responsible for vitality. Of course if the nerve signals from the body that are used to build a mental image of position and balance make a mistake things can go wrong. Stress to the nervous system in the form of physical, chemical or psychological load (e.g. too much sitting) can result in the nerve signals to the cerebellum becoming jumbled. These nerve problems prevent smooth, accurate movement and little mistakes result where opposing muscles pull against each other until damage occurs; “my back just went!”

8. The brain creates connections (pathways) between which microscopic cells:

A) Blood cells
B) Tiny cell phones
C) Brain tissues
D) Neurons Click for answer

D) Neurons
Neurons are the individuals cells that, when clumped together, form the nerves we know about. There are different types of nerves, for example ‘nociceptors’ transmit pain and ‘golgi tendon organs’ transmit force or pressure applied to a structure. There are specialised nerves as well such as the nerve cells in the eye, the ‘rods and cones’ that detect light or the nerves within the inner ear that transmit sound. When they work well you have amazing function but should they go wrong, even simple normal function can be difficult. The nervous system is worth looking after.

9. Which part of the brain keeps you breathing?

A) Breathe-o-meter
B) Brain stem
C) Pituitary gland
D) Limbic system Click for answer

B) Brain stem
The brain stem is located partially in the skull and partially within the first 3 vertebrae in the neck and it too is a junction box. It houses many complex ‘ganglion’ (nerve junctions) which are responsible the complex organ functions including breathing. Injury to the upper cervical spine, or if vertebra are injured or locked, can have serious effects on your health; chiropractic care can give excellent and surprising results.

10. Your emotions are believed to come from the:

A) Cerebellum
B) Medulla oblongata
C) Amygdala
D) Heart Click for answer

C) Amygdala
Emotions do not come from the heart, rather they are formed deep in the brain. The amygdala are two almond shaped areas on each side of the brain which have a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making and emotional reactions and form part of the ‘limbic system’.
The right and left amygdala seem to operate differently, in a recent study electrical stimulations of the right amygdala induced negative emotions, especially fear and sadness, whereas the left amygdala was able to induce either pleasant (happiness) or unpleasant (fear, anxiety, sadness) emotions when stimulated. This means that the left amygdala probably plays a role in the brain’s reward system. There were also differences between the role of the amygdala in men and women, whereby the role of the left and right were reversed in some circumstances. This is thought to lead to different emotional reactions to the same situation in men and women.

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