Chapters 1- Introduction

1- Introduction

"Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel." Socrates.

The nervous system (especially human) is probably the most complex structure and the most fascinating of the entire known universe to date. It is the holds our identity, our thoughts, our memory, our emotions and the sensations that we live every moment. The nervous system allows us to see, hear, feel and experience the world and the environment to which we belong. The nervous system also allows us to act on this environment: It allows us to build, move, feed, adapt and expand our capabilities to understand the cosmos raging from the most infinitely small particles to the immense and vast structures of the universe infinitely large.

The rest of the body organs serve the nervous system in one way or another : the digestive system provides it with nutrients, the lungs provide it with oxygen, the cardiovascular system provides its blood supply and the kidneys purifiy the blood from toxins that can damage it ... All organs of the body serve the nervous system one way or another because if this latter stops, it's the the whole life that goes with it.

Since the dawn of history, man seeks answers to several questions about thought, language, memory, emotions ... and due to the lack of resources, the answers were often out of reach. Today, with science and technology development in its heyday, we have some solid insights on how this incredible human machine work.

Unfortunately, this extraordinary and fabulous nervous system is not foolproof. We see sometimes alterations in its operation and its capacity decreases. As paradoxical as it may seem, it is largely due to these anomalies that we have discovered how the nervous system works. Along the history of medicine, researchers and doctors describe diseases and disorders in individuals, and they examine  their bodies after death to see what was wrong, for anatomical abnormalities in certain regions give some clues about their roles in some specific functions, functions such as language, memory, emotions ... But those were impractical methods, it was not possible to find the anomaly until the patient dies.

Comparative anatomy and physiology with other animals was also all very contributive at times.

But what probably impacted the modern science the most in this sense, is the development of methods and highly developed means of investigation: optical and electron microscopy, staining techniques, medical imaging (functional in particular), development of neurophysiology ...

All these means, especially zealous people who persisted to ask questions and to find answers, have enabled us today to know a lot about the nervous system.

Understand the functioning of the nervous system and the mechanisms of its disorders can help us cure or at least show us in what way we should lead the research to find good remedies for some horrible and devastating neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Chapters 1- Introduction