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The nervous system can be divided into two parts, the central and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is a hierarchical structure, with higher centres modulating lower ones. The peripheral nervous system originates in the motor anterior horn of the spinal cord and terminates in the dorsal ganglion, near the spinal cord. At rest, nerves and muscles are in electrical equilibrium. When they are stimulated, action potentials develop: these follow particular paths and produce an effect remotely through nerve-to-nerve and nerve-to-muscle communication, which is mediated chemically by transmitters. In pathological situations nerves or muscles fail to respond when stimulated. Electromyography provides a lot of information by measuring nerve conduction velocity or abnormal muscle action. An EEG measures brain activity. The indications for EEG are epilepsy, sleep and coma. To enable readers to understand the opportunities afforded by supplementary tests in the case of neurological disorders this chapter gives a brief recapitulation of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. A broad outline of anatomy is given in sect. 3.1, and 3.2 gives information on imaging. Sections 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5 recapitulate the physiology of nerves, muscles and motor units respectively, which is required for the explanation of electromyography in sect. 3.6. The measurement of signals in and from the central nervous system is explained in sect. 3.7, and 3.8 discusses other laboratory techniques.
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- An overview over nervous system and muscles. Technical investigations in neurology
Professor J. B. M. Kuks
Professor J. W. Snoek
- Bohn Stafleu van Loghum