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Grey and White Matter of the Brain

by Craig Canby, PhD
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    Now, I want you to understand the organization of the spinal cord. Here we have a cross section of the spinal cord. There are three features in this cross section or axial section that I want you to understand. First is that the spinal cord is made up of centrally located gray matter that we see in through here. Then it communicates here to the opposite side that we see in through here. This has a butterfly appearance based on how it’s organized within the spinal cord. In the central aspect here, there is a central canal. Cerebrospinal fluid is found within the central canal. Lastly, note that the peripheral aspect of the spinal cord in through here, here more laterally, here anteriorly, and over on the opposite side anteriorly and laterally as well, this represents peripherally located white matter. Ascending and descending tracts are travelling in these peripheral areas, whereas nerve cell bodies are housed in the gray matter. So white matter is peripheral. Gray is internal in the spinal cord. This is just the opposite of how it’s organized in the brain where the white matter is found peripherally. Then your gray matter is found more deeply within the brain. Now that you have a basic understanding of the arrangement of gray matter to white matter in a cross section through the spinal cord, it’s important for you to realize that the ratio of gray to white matter will vary depending on which segment or cross section of the spinal cord that you are observing. So here in this series of axial or cross sections, you have a section through the upper portion of the spinal cord of the cervical area. Here’s the thoracic area. Here is the lumbar area. Then this lower region represents the sacral axial...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Grey and White Matter of the Brain by Craig Canby, PhD is from the course Spinal Cord.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Ascending and descending tracts are located peripherally in the gray matter.
    2. The organization of gray and white matter is opposite to the organization in the brain.
    3. Gray matter is located centrally while the white matter is located peripherally.
    4. Ratio of gray to white matter changes through each segment of spinal cord.
    5. CSF runs through the central canal located in the center.
    1. Ratio of gray to white matter in the sacral spinal cord is higher than that in the thoracic region of the Spinal cord.
    2. Amount of white matter increases as we descend through the spinal cord.
    3. Ratio of gray to white matter is minimum in the lumbar region of the spinal cord.
    4. Ratio of gray to white matter is highest in the thoracic region of the spinal cord.
    5. Ratio of gray to white matter decreases as we go from cervical to sacral region of the spinal cord.
    1. Dorsal horn
    2. Ventral horn
    3. Corticospinal tract
    4. Dorsal column
    5. Medial lemniscus

    Author of lecture Grey and White Matter of the Brain

     Craig Canby, PhD

    Craig Canby, PhD


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