The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. It is referred to as “central” because it combines information from the entire body and coordinates activity across the whole organism.

This article gives a brief overview of the central nervous system (CNS). We will look at the types of cells involved, different regions within the brain, spinal circuitry, and how the CNS can be affected by disease and injury.

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Fast facts on the central nervous system

Here are some key points about the central nervous system. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord.
  • The brain is the most complex organ in the body and uses 20 percent of the total oxygen we breathe in.
  • The brain consists of an estimated 100 billion neurons, with each connected to thousands more.
  • The brain can be divided into four main lobes: temporal, parietal, occipital and frontal.

What is the central nervous system?