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autonomous nervous system

Term: autonomous nervous system

Literally meaning: “self –govering nervous system”

Origin: Anc Greek
αυτό-/auto-(=combining form meaning “one's own” or “by oneself”) >αυτός/autos(=self, same)
+ νόμος/nomos(=division, law) > νέμω/nemo(=distribute, divide)
νεύρον/nevron(=neuron) > νευρά/nevra (=catgut)
> (νεαρόν/nearon (=young) because catgut were made from intestines of young animals.
σύστημα/systema(=union) > συνίστημι/synistimy(=uniting, compine)

The concept that sympathetic nervous system controls  body  functions originated by Greek physician Galen who taught that nerves were hollow tubes distributing “animal spitrits” in the body , thereby fostering concerred action, or “syphathy” of the organs. In 1732 Danish anatomist Jacques-Benigne Winslow (1669-1760)  coined the term sympathetic nervous system to describe the hains of ganglia and nerves connented to the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord. Bichat (1771-1802) divided life into two distinct forms, one governed by the brain, and the other (organic, vegetative, life) by the abdominal ganglia. Vegetative life was seen as connected with the passions, governed by independently functioning abdominal ganglia, a chain of “little brains”. English physiologist  John Langley (1852-1925) introduced the term autonomous nervous system  and parasympathetic nervous system to denote the cranial and sacral portions of the nervous system, beside the sympathetic nervous system, which originates from thoracolumbar ganglia.  Langley’s observed that parasympathetic nerves emerge from the brain and the sacral segments of the spinal cord and thus to either side of the regions of the cord from wich sympathetic fibers arise. Langley wrote that  “the autonomic nervous sytem means the nervous system of the glands and of the involuntary muscle; it governs the “organic” functions of the body”.  (J of Physiology, 1898-1899).

Autonomous nervous system is part of peripheral nervous that is  responsible for control of involuntary or visceral bodily functions (digestion, respiration, urination, salivation, reproduction) keeping a key role in the body response to stress. Autonomous nervous system is divided to Sympathetic Nervous systrem  responsible for stimulating actions and Parasympathetic nervous system responsible for body vegative functions.

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