Neuroscience is the biological study of the nervous system, encompassing those scientific disciplines concerned with the development, molecular and cellular structure, chemistry, functionality, evolution, and pathology of the neural networks constructing the nervous system. The vertebrate nervous system is a sophisticated networking of neural cells that function through the transmission of excitatory or inhibitory signaling to process information and orchestrate all bodily functions, including the capacity for motor and sensory function, cognition, and emotion. Arising from the ectoderm, the most exterior of the three germ cell layers, this system is comprised of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The central nervous system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord, functions to receive, interpret, and respond to the nerve impulses of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system serves as the connection between the central nervous system and the body, transporting sensory and motor information to and from the central nervous system, respectively.

Constructed from those sensory and motor neurons found outside the white and gray matter of the spinal cord and brain, the peripheral nervous system is generally divided into the sensory- somatic and autonomic nervous systems; the last of which is then subdivided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Altogether, the nervous system is biologically comprised of the neurons and supporting cells required to control the voluntary and involuntary actions of the body, including Schwann cells, satellite cells (or ganglionic gliocytes), oligodendrocytes, microglia, astrocytes, and ependymal cells. Constituting and supporting  the  brain  and  spinal cord within the central nervous system, these cells also serve to establish and support the cranial and spinal nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which arise from the brain and spinal cord, respectively. Understanding the development and homeostasis of the nervous system, the many pathways responsible for maintaining and regulating its proper functionality, and the implications of nervous system dysfunction, remain poignant within research concerning the nervous system and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research exploring the biological processes of the nervous system and their influences on both human behavior and function offers vast possibilities for the understanding, as well as treatment, of various neurological diseases and disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Epilepsy.

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