Spinal cord

This is an extension of the brain stem which extends from an opening at the base of the skull down to the second lumbar vertebra.

It forms a two-way information pathway between the brain and the rest of the body via the spinal nerves. It is protected by three layers of tissues called the meninges and by cerebospinal fluid. Its function is to relay impulses to and from the brain. Sensory tracts conduct impulses to the brain and motor tracts conduct impulses from the brain.

The spinal cord provides the nervous tissue link between the brain and other organs of the body and is the centre for reflex actions which provide a fast response to external or internal stimuli.

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