Central Nervous System

Picture of central nervous system

The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain, the spinal cord, and the optic nerves. The central nervous system controls thought processes, guides movement, and registers sensations throughout the body.

The spinal cord is a single continuous structure that goes from the brain through the base of the skull and down the spinal column. Individual paired spinal nerves continue down to the tailbone. The optic nerves are at the back of the eye and carry visual information from the eye to the brain.

Injuries or diseases that affect the central nervous system can sometimes cause permanent loss of function and disability.

Current as ofJune 3, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Barrie J. Hurwitz, MB, MRCP, FCP(SA) - Neurology

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: