Discussion – (CNS Gray Matter / White Matter)

The CNS and PNS are made of both Gray Matter and White Matter. Gray Matter are areas that appear gray in color; they are visibly darker than the surrounding lighter-white areas.  These areas of gray matter are where there are accumulations of neuron cell bodies (aka soma or perikaryon).  White Matter are areas made of bundles of myelinated axons going from one part of the nervous system to another. There are disorders of the nervous system associated with gray matter such as Parkinson’s, and disorders associated with mostly white matter such as Multiple Sclerosis.

Create a Thread: For EITHER Parkinson’s OR Multiple Sclerosis indicate:

  • What CNS structure is affected? Be very specific.
  • How is the CNS structure affected by this disorder?
  • How affected CNS structure is prevented from doing its normal function?
  • Treatment that has been tried (and may no longer be used – and why not used anymore) or is currently being used.

Sample Answer: Polio is a disorder/disease affecting gray matter

  • What CNS structure is affected? Be very specific. Polio affects the gray matter of the spinal cord. The virus affects motor neurons of the ventral horn of the spinal cord.
  • How is the CNS structure affected by this disorder? Polio is caused by a virus that destroys the motor neurons.
  • How affected CNS structure is prevented from doing its normal function? Destruction of ventral horn motor neurons means that motor neurons can no longer send commands to skeletal muscle, thus skeletal muscle becomes paralyzed and will often atrophy.
  • Treatment that has been tried (and may no longer be used – and why not used anymore) or is currently being used. Once the motor neurons have been destroyed, there is no way to replace them.  Treatment just involves helping patients affected with polio to live with the loss of function i.e. using crutches/braces to be able to move.

Reply to a Classmate who chose same disorder as you: Reply to a classmate who has a different answer for any of the questions (EITHER for CNS structure affected OR How CNS structure is affected OR CNS structure prevented from doing function OR Treatment) than yours:

  • reply to classmate with different answer than yours for EITHER Parkinson’s OR Multiple Sclerosis (which ever one you chose)
  • Indicate if you believe their answer is INCORRECT (i.e. you indicated disorder is in one part of CNS and they put a different CNS structure) or if it is different but you believe their answer is CORRECT (for example you mention one treatment and they mention a different one), indicate how what you learned supports their answer.
  • You may not point out something in your reply that has already been pointed out by another student.
  • Reply only to student with 0-2 replies; students should not end up with more than 3 replies.
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