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What Is the Function of Nervous Tissue?

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The function of nervous tissue is to transmit and receive external and internal stimuli. Consisting of two basic types of cells, neurons and glial cells, nervous tissue represents a fundamental aspect of living organisms.

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Nervous Tissue
Nervous tissue is an important part of the human's nervous system. The nervous tissue is made up of neurons. The neuron consists of a nerve cell body, including dendrites and axons. Signals from the internal or external environment are received by the neurons and then transmitted as electrical impulses to muscles, glands, the central nervous system or other neurons.

Glial Cells
The glial cells in nervous tissue are the protective cells. They make up about 90 percent of nervous tissue and surround many of the processes that occur there. Their function is to provide support, nutrition and insulation for the neurons. These cells are smaller than neurons. The glia found within the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord, are called neuroglia. These are important because they help form a protective layer around tissue fibers, plus they increase conductivity of the fibers.

Types of Neurons
Neurons relay messages between different nerves. There are three types of neurons: motor neurons, sensory neurons and interneurons. The motor neurons move the action potential from the central nervous system to the effector organs, such as muscles or glands. The sensory neurons function in the opposite manner, moving the action potential from the sensory organs to the central nervous system. The interneurons act as connectors between neurons.

Purpose of Neurons
Overall, neurons are responsible for the reception, propagation and conduction of nerve impulses. The sensory and motor neurons are found mostly outside of the brain and spinal cord, while the interneurons are found entirely within the central nervous system. While sensory neurons take in information and give it to the central nervous system, motor neurons take in information from the central nervous system and send it to the body. Interneurons work to process information inside the different parts of the central nervous system.

Nervous Tissue Damage
Nerve tissue damage, also referred to as nerve injury, can occur for several reasons. One example is a spinal cord injury in NFL players. The scientific medical field is working to find a solution to severe damage, seeking new and forward-thinking ways to help afflicted people. There are six different levels of injury, the first-degree being the least impactful with recovery within days or months, whereas the sixth-degree is the most severe type of injury. The ideal solution in any type of nerve injury is to regenerate the damaged nerves, however, neurons don't regenerate easily. Because the central nervous system is linked to important organs like the brain, any treatment must be done with caution, and treatment can take a long time.

Maintaining Nervous Tissue Health
There are several things one can do to maintain nervous tissue health. One of the best things to do is to eat certain foods and vitamins. For example, vitamin C and spearmint promote tissue growth, as does folate. In addition, one can maintain a healthy nervous system by avoiding tobacco, alcohol or drugs, and by drinking plenty of water.

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