Somatic Nervous System

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somatic nervous system

[sō′mad·ik ′nər·vəs ‚sis·təm]
(physiology)
The portion of the nervous system concerned with the control of voluntary muscle and relating the organism with its environment.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Somatic Nervous System

 

the part of the nervous system that innervates the muscles of the body and makes sensory and motor functions possible. In vertebrates, somatic muscles include the striated muscles of the skeleton, which are innervated by the motoneurons of the anterior horns of the spinal cord and by some motor nuclei of the brainstem. These motoneurons are coordinated by direct or indirect (through interneurons) synaptic influences that come from other motoneurons, from sensory neurons that obtain information from muscles and tendons, and from the higher motor centers situated in various parts of the brain. The division of the nervous system into the somatic and visceral systems, introduced by the British physiologist W. H. Gaskell, is very arbitrary. Both terms are only of historical interest, and their use in scientific literature is decreasing.

D. A. SAKHAROV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Paralysis is complete loss or impairment of ability to use voluntary muscles due to nervine disorders.
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2175, a child is alive if it "breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction [from the mother] occurs as a result Of natural or induced labor, Caesarean section or induced abortion.'
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