Nervous and Immune System

By:Jennifer Cholula

Function of The System

The nervous system is a complex collection of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body. It is essentially the body’s electrical wiring.

Description

Nerves are cylindrical bundles of fibers that start at the brain and central cord and branch out to every other part of the body. Neurons send signals to other cells through thin fibers called axons, which cause chemicals known as neurotransmitters to be released at junctions called synapses. A synapse gives a command to the cell and the entire communication process typically takes only a fraction of a millisecond.Sensory neurons react to physical stimuli such as light, sound and touch and send feedback to the central nervous system about the body’s surrounding environment. Motor neurons, located in the central nervous system or in peripheral ganglia, transmit signals to activate the muscles or glands.Glial cells, derived from the Greek word for "glue," are specialized cells that support, protect or nourish nerve cells.
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Major Disorders

-Alzheimer's Disease which covers a wide range of disorders that impacts mental functions, particularly memory.


-Stroke which occurs when there is bleeding on the brain or the blow flow to the brain is obstructed

Fuction

The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The cells involved are white blood cells, or leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

Definitions

Pathogen:a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease


Active Immunity:the immunity that results from the production of antibodies by the immune system in response to the presence of an antigen.


Passive Immunity:the short-term immunity that results from the introduction of antibodies from another person or animal.


Antigen: a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.


Antibody:a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances that the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are produced by microorganisms to kill or control the growth of other microorganisms by blocking specific metabolic pathways within the cell. Since bacteria are so different to human cells, antibiotics can be taken by humans to kill bacteria without harming the human cells. Viruses on the other hand are different as they do not carry out many metabolic processes themselves. Instead they rely on a host cell (a human cell) to carry out these processes for them. Therefore viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics as it is impossible to harm the virus without harming the human cells.

Major Disorders

Cause: HIV causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). A syndrome is a group of symptoms that are found together. HIV destroys a type of lymphocyte which is vital for antibody production. Over the years, less active lymphocytes are produced which leads to a fall in the amount of antibodies. Pathogens that would normally be easily controlled by the body in healthy individuals can cause serious consequences and eventually lead to death for patients affected by HIV. The immune system is considerably weakened.

Transmission: HIV is transmitted through body fluids from an infected person to an uninfected one. This can occur through vaginal and anal intercourse as well as oral sex if there are cuts or tears in the vagina, penis, mouth or intestine. It can also be transmitted by hypodermic needles that are shared by intravenous drug abusers. The small amount of blood present on these needles after their use may contain the virus and is enough to infect another person. Another way of transmission is through the placenta from mother to child, or through cuts during childbirth or in milk during breast feeding. Finally there is a risk of transmission in transfused blood or with blood products such as Factor VIII used to treat hemophiliacs.

Social implications: Relatives and friends suffer grief. Families can also suffer from a loss of income as the person infected by HIV can lose their wage if they are unable to work and are refused life insurance. Also, HIV patients may find it hard to find partners, employment and even housing. Finally, AIDS can cause fear in a population.


Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). This is an example of an immune deficiency that is present at birth. Children are in constant danger of infections from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This disorder is sometimes called "bubble boy disease." In the 1970s, a boy had to live in a sterile environment inside a plastic bubble. Children with SCID are missing important white blood cells.

Immune System