Nick’s Story

A. Which symptoms that Nick has described so far are relevant to the nervous system? Are his symptoms sensory, motor, or both? Nick has complained of burning and prickly pain in feet, clumsiness, dizziness when sitting or standing, and vision problems. These are symptoms of both sensory and motor nerve damage. B. Do you think the symptoms Nick describes are likely caused by peripheral nerve damage? Could they be caused by damage to the central nervous system? I believe there has been peripheral nerve damage because of the symptoms that he exhibits.

It seems that his receptors are not effectively communicating back to the central nervous system; in addition he is losing his somatic reflexes in his feet, both indicating damage to his somatic nervous system. I guess there could be damage to the central nervous system, but I would expect that the symptoms would be even more severe. C. Diabetic neuropathies damage peripheral nerves. Which component of the reflex arc is most likely to be damaged in Nick’s situation? I think a lot of Nicks reflex arc damage would begin at the sensory neuron.

Stimuli are still triggering the receptor, but the information isn’t traveling along the damaged sensory neuron to continue the arc to the integrating centers, motor neurons, and effectors, though the damage could be further along in the reflex arc providing basically the same symptoms. D. Which division of the autonomic nervous system would be affected and would be causing Nick’s GI tract symptoms? Because his digestion is suppressed I would say the sympathetic division is mainly active, inhibiting the gastrointestinal tract.

So the parasympathetic division of his nervous system, which allows motility of the gastrointestinal tract, is primarily affected. E. Nick’s light-headedness is caused by a condition known as orthostatic hypotension, a rapid drop in blood pressure upon standing up. Based on what you have learned so far, how does the autonomic nervous system control blood pressure? The hypothalamus connects the parasympathetic and sympathetic divisions of the ANS by neurons in the brain and spinal cord and relay information.

The posterior and lateral parts of the hypothalamus control the sympathetic division which constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. The anterior and medial parts of the hypothalamus control the parasympathetic division which lowers blood pressure. F. After becoming comatose, Nick was sweating profusely, and had rapid heart and respiratory rates and elevated blood pressure. Which area of the brain interacts with the autonomous nervous system during physical stress to initiate these responses? The hypothalamus . G. Nick has digestive symptoms indicating reduced gastrointestinal mobility.

What autonomic receptors regulate closing of sphincters and relaxation of organ walls? Pelvic splanchnic nerves. H. Why would the term polyneuropathy be appropriate for the symptoms that Nick was experiencing? Because his symptoms indicate that several different nerves and neural pathways were damaged. I. What symptoms noted by Nicks primary care physician indicated a polyneuropathy? Knowing that Nick was struggling to manage his diabetes definitely sent a red flag, additionally vision problems, feet problems, and balance issues indicated polyneuropathy. J.

Why are Nicks generalized symptoms more indicative of a peripheral polyneuropathy than a central nervous system lesion to the brain or spinal cord? Because certain individual signals aren’t being interpreted and responded to effectively. K. Which of Nick’s systems were related to somatic reflexes? Which were related to autonomic reflexes? Somatic reflex issues were indicated by the lack of response in reflex and when nick wasn’t able to resist much to pressure against his foot. Autonomic reflexes were suppressed when Nick was unable to digest food, and increased when his blood pressure went up.

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