Basics of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology

Handb Clin Neurol. 2016;138:53-68. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-802973-2.00004-5.


This chapter presents an overview of the anatomy and functioning of the central nervous system. We begin the discussion by first examining the cellular basis of neural transmission. Then we present a brief description of the brain's white and gray matter and associated diseases, including a discussion of white-matter lesions. Finally, we place this information into context by discussing how the central nervous system integrates complex information to guide key functional systems, including the visual, auditory, chemosensory, somatic, limbic, motor, and autonomic systems. Where appropriate, we have supplied information pertaining to pathologic and functional outcomes of damage to the central nervous system. Also included is a brief description of important tools and methods used in the study of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Overall, this chapter provides a basic review of the concepts required to understand and interpret the clinical disorders and related material presented in the subsequent chapters of this book.

Keywords: autonomic system; brain; central nervous system; electroencephalogram; motor system; neuroanatomy; neurophysiology; sensory system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / anatomy & histology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Humans