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The Human Brain and Methods of Discovery The human nervous system consists of several parts The main structures are the brain and the spinal cord The system includes nerves that sense external and internal stimuli and then relay the information to the central processing unit -- the brain The brain is the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system that constitutes the organ of thought and neural coordination It includes all the higher nervous centers receiving stimuli from the sense organs and interpreting and correlating them to formulate the motor impulses It is made up of neuronal cells supporting and nutritive structures and is enclosed within the skull The brain is continuous with the spinal cord through the foramen magnum - the opening in the skull through which the spinal cord passes to become the medulla oblongata The knowledge we have of brain structure function and interrelativity has been substantially accelerated over the last century This is largely due to advances in nuclear medicinetechnological advances in noninvasive methods of studying and viewing brain structure and the actual ability to visually measure live neural activity in relation to activity The scope of this paper is to discuss brain scanning and to then discuss some of the structures and functions of the brain whose discovery this technology has made possible X-ray machines have been the chief mechanical tools for internal observations of the human body since Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1901 The development of computers made it possible for better and more accurate techniques to be applied to scan the human body These methods employ various scanners like the CT computerized tomography PET positron emission tomography MRI magnetic resonance imaging and SPECT single photon emission computed tomography The CT is an acronym for computerized tomography This method of scanning involves computer-enhanced X rays of brain structures shot from many angles and then combined by the computer to render a clear image of a
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