Sample Coursework Paper on Nervous System Research

Nervous System Research

The role of the nervous system is to coordinate intentional and spontaneous actions in the animals’ bodies, in addition to spreading signals between various parts of their bodies. The continuous research on information concerning the nervous system as well as behavior has revealed that all human experience correspond to numerous patterns of action across many cells that constitute the nervous system. The outburst of information has begun to extract new ways of thinking concerning human beings, and their relationship with things around them. However, the study of nervous system is often mauled by controversies. This study will focus on current empirical research on construction of the nervous system and its function in shaping behavior, as well as the discussion concerning the controversies surrounding research carried out on the nervous system.

The Nervous System and its Role in Shaping Behavior

The nervous system incorporates the brain, the spinal cord, and the sensory organs. Each of these organs consists of nerve cells (neurons) and glial cells. Almost all functions of human body are under the control of the self-directed, involuntary nervous system (Karolinska Institutet, 2014). The brain and the spinal cord create the central nervous system, and this is where information is assessed, in addition to making decisions. Neurons send signals to enable several functions to take place, including processing of thoughts and movement. The nervous system is involved in sending signals from one cell to other cells. The system releases hormones into the human internal circulation system to be dispersed to other areas of the body.

The nervous system can be perceived as an exploratory device, which constantly build and review models of the world through creating outputs and examining the resulting inputs. When resting, the body falls under control of energy-saving functions of cells, which are regulated by the parasympathetic component of the independent nervous system (Karolinska Institutet, 2014). The current knowledge indicates that several essential types of cells are derived in early progenitor cells, which travel short distances before the embryo is enlarged. The study by Karolinska Institutet indicates that the parasympathetic neurons emerge from immature glial cells that move along the peripheral nerves toward the body tissues and organs.

Some disease conditions do not just result from improper immune systems, but may have their origin from the nervous system. Researchers have discovered that wheezing, coughing as well as struggling for breath may result from sensitive bundles of neurons extending from the brain towards the lungs (Williams, 2014). The drugs that modify these neurons can offer directions towards treating some types of asthma. According to Williams (2014), asthma is perceived to emerge from the immune system where immune cells become exhausted due to inflammation. However, some nerves that meander through the neck and torso may have contributed to the suffering. The immune system is capable of transforming the neurons during the initial immune response, but when immune molecules interact with neurons, they may alter their behavior, causing airway constraint. A further research on asthma drugs would enhance treatment of symptoms, in addition to reversing the hypersensitivity that cause the illness.

The study of nervous system is usually utilized in the stem cell research. Stem cells are extracted from human embryo and offers opportunity to find remedies to various diseases and conditions. According to Chiu and Hall (2006), the most recognizable application of stem cell research on nervous system disorders is studying cell replacement therapy. In diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, some types of cells get lost from the brain, and deriving well-featured neural progenitors from embryonic stem cells can offer solution to such diseases. Stem cell research can also contribute in the treatment of neurological disease through understanding its early development, in addition to proper understanding of how glioblastoma and other tumors behave in the nervous system.

The study of nervous system is essential in understanding why animals behave differently. Sensory systems in animals pass information from outside, and this information shape animals’ behavior. Human beings normally utilize sensory system to sense hunger, fear, pain, or any other danger; hence, they are capable of changing behavior according to their sensory structures. Visual perception is part of sensory system that converts information into an internal signal, causing an animal to change behavior.

Controversies Surrounding Research on Nervous System

The study of the nerve system has not been without controversies. The study of embryonic stem cells present hope for new remedy, but the research on stem cells is usually spoiled by controversies. The research on embryonic stem cell creates moral dilemma, as researchers have to consider prevention of suffering and respecting the value of human existence. In this case, it is almost impossible to revere both moral principles. This debate has motivated a pro-life movement where members seek to know the rights, and status of the embryo in its early stages of life.

The opponents of embryonic stem cell research hold the belief that nobody should violate human life, and human life starts once the egg is fertilized by sperm cells. To obtain embryonic stem cells demands interference with the early embryo and this is destruction of a potential human life. Such opponents asserted that utilizing umbilical cord blood has resulted in more promising outcomes than using embryonic stem cells. Use of human embryo for research has been characterized as “high-tech cannibalism” and can only be compared to human abortion (Panno, 2005). Taking embryonic stem cells from early embryo interferes with the moral intention of procreation.

Despite efforts to contain the neuron growth, new neurons have continued to be detected within a specific region in the brain. Such neurons originate from neural stem cells, which form in the fluid cavities of the brain, and in the spinal cord. The stem cells may form astrocytes, which form the basis of stem cell therapies. However, the future of stem cell therapies is quite complex, as more understanding of cells is necessary. Managing the growth of cells and ensuring their switch to neurons while guiding their migration in the central nervous system is the objective of nervous system research.

Conclusion

Human body can perform effectively if its entire constituent parts work together to attain its goals. All functions involve the movement of muscles while neurons convey information to the brain through the nervous system. The principal role of the nervous system is to receive, process, and pass information in the animals’ bodies. Researchers have discovered that use of embryonic stem cells is critical in the treatment of diseases that affect the central nervous system. However, controversies have emerged in the study of the nervous system, as the use of embryonic stem cells is perceived to interfere with procreation. Neurologists are in dilemma of minimizing people’s suffering or respecting human life. Further research should be carried out to seek other alternatives of treating nervous system disorders without creating unnecessary confusion.

 References

Chiu, A.Y., & Hall, Z. W. (2006). Stem Cell Research: The California Experience. The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(25): 6661-6663; doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2006-06.2006.

Karolinska Institutet (2014, June 12). Unexpected origin for important parts of the nervous system. ScienceDaily.

Panno, J. (2005). Stem cell research: Medical applications and ethical controversy. New York, NY: Facts On File.

Williams, S. C. P. (2014, June 21). Nervous system may hold key to treating asthma attacks. Science Magazine.

Zivadinov, R., & Chih-Ping, C. (2013). Potential involvement of the extracranial venous system in central nervous system disorders and aging. BMC Medicine, 11(1), 1-23. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-260