THE COMPASS

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Grey Matter

Grey and white matter

The brain is made up of neurons that act like houses where brain function is developed. You will often hear the term grey matter when describing this part of the brain. The brain is also made up of axons that act like telephone wires and transmit information to and between the neurons. This part of the brain is called white matter.

The spinal cord also has grey matter and white matter. Different amounts of grey matter depend on the level of the spinal cord.

  • Grey matter: This describes the neurons, which are like the houses of the central nervous system. The grey matter is important for directing the senses of the body (speech, hearing, seeing, feeling, memory) and control of the muscles. The grey matter sends out tendrils like telephone wires to different parts of the central nervous system.
  • White matter: This represents the telephone wires that are coming from the houses, or grey matter. It is best to think of the white matter as a coil of wires that is transmitting information and signals up and down the central nervous system. The white matter is transmitting signals responsible for movement and feeling, as well as regulating critical functions like temperature, blood pressure and heart-rate signals. These are the functions that happen automatically, without you thinking about them. These signals travel between the body and the brain via the white matter.

 Grey and white matter

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