Diseases of the Spinal Cord.
THERE are few diseases more interesting, as a study, than those which affect the nervous cord which runs through the centre of the back bone. This cord is a continuation, an appendage or tail of the brain. It is the seat and centre of certain nervous functions, called reflex, by which so many movements take place which are not under the control of the will.
In order that we may feel what takes place in any part of the body or limbs, and that the will may have power to move such part, it is necessary that nervous matter should be continuous and unbroken between the part in question and the brain.
If the spinal cord be cut, broken, or crushed at any point, all those parts which receive nerves from below the injury, lose their power of motion and their feeling. When the injury is in the upper part of the cord, the breathing and. the circulation will stop, and death is the immediate consequence. If the middle portion of the cord be the seat of the injury, the bowels and other organs may lose their motion and feeling; if the lower portion, then the lower limbs only will be the sufferers.
Disease or injury in the upper part of the cord is therefore much more dangerous than the same thing occurring in the lower.
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copyright 2005, J. Crow Company, New Ipswich NH 03071