This week’s topic was the motor system. The motor control can be divided into two parts: spinal control of movement and the brain control of movement. The spinal cord commands and controls coordinated muscle contraction and brain commands and controls the motor programs in the spinal cord. We considered that the motor system was easier to understand when the two parts of it were separated in different chapters. In addition, we thought that the lecture this week was really good. The quiz felt easier compared to previous weeks since the questions could be answered according to the lecture. Additionally, the readings of this week combine the information from previous chapters and lectures. Now we realized why we have not gone through the course book’s chapters chronologically.
This week we found especially interesting the role of the spinal cord. We found it surprising how much the spinal cord controls movement by itself, for example, in the form of reflexes. It was fun to notice that there is something behind the Finnish saying that a specific thing comes from the spinal cord. Also we learned a lot of new interesting facts. For example, that each motor unit contains muscle fibers only from one type, and the idea of the orderly recruitment of motor neurons is due to the variations in alpha motor neuron size.
Now we have gone through all the topics of this course. In the beginning of the course we did not realize that we have to learn in detail about the anatomy and functions of the different structures of our body to understand the functions of the brain. It has been interesting to learn, for example, about the muscles or about the anatomy of your ears or eyes and how different functions of the brain control them. However, this has also been sometimes very challenging since there has been a lot of new information. Nevertheless, after this course we believe that we have a comprehensive picture of the structures and functions of the brain and how they control the different parts of our body.