Institution of Affiliation
Homeostasis and the Nervous System
Homeostasis is the ability to maintain balance in a system. In the body, homeostasis refers to the maintenance of a constant internal conditions within the body. The maintenance of a balanced environment requires continuous regulation as the conditions within the body adjusts (Gustafson et al. 2017). Homeostatic regulation, therefore, is the regulation of and the adjustments of the physiological systems in the body, which involves mechanisms such as; the receptors, the control center, as well as the effectors.
The receptors play a crucial role in homeostasis in that they help in receiving information indicating change in the internal body environment. The control center receives the information and processing it and providing a ready solution ready for implementation. After processing the information and providing the necessary remedy, the effector conveys the commands of the control center through either enhancing or opposing the stimulus. The process is continuous as the systems constantly work to maintain or restore homeostasis.
The process of homeostasis involves a series of positive and negative feedback loops to achieve the desired environments. Negative feedback involves a reaction to reverse the direction of change while positive feedback is a response that amplifies the change. During homeostasis, the nervous system acts as the control center as the impulses are sent to the brain where the information is internalized and a stimulus generated in response to the condition affecting the body. The nervous system is made up of the central and the peripheral nervous systems all that work together to regulate the body environment and therefore a crucial part of the homeostasis process.
Examples of homeostatic processes in the body
The nervous system is greatly involved in the visual perception which helps in maintaining homeostasis. In humans, there is a thin layer of the nervous tissues that cover the back of the inside eye called retina. The retina is populated with millions of receptor cells known as photoreceptor cells, the bipolar cells, and the ganglion cells (Sherwood, 2015). The cells in the retina detect light and transmit the electrical information through the optic nerve to the brain resulting in a visual image. The dilation of the pupil is also controlled by the nervous system, aiding in optimizing the amount of light entering the eye for a better vision.
Vision allows humans and animals to see and escape danger, find mates and food to sustain their lives. When there is not enough light, an eye can’t perceive the image clearly, impulses are sent to the brain alerting blurry images due to inadequate lighting. The brain in response may respond in two ways, one, and the pupil which is responsible for regulating the amount of light is commanded to dilate, expanding the diameter and allowing more light to enter the retina. Besides, if the light is not enough, the brain necessitates the need for artificial lighting, prompting the person to light the bulb.
The nervous system regulates body temperature through positive and negative feedback mechanisms. When the external conditions are too warm, the body temperatures also change increasing the temperatures in the internal environment. As a result, impulses are sent to the brain and excess heat detected, the nervous system commands several processes to curb the situation and restore the body temperature to normal. The blood vessels dilate, protruding to the surface causing heat loss to the environment (Baker, 1982). Besides, the nervous system triggers the sweat glands to release fluid, the sweat that evaporates causing the skin to cool. Also, the skin hairs bend trapping less air thus helping in cooling the body. Conversely, in the case of temperature drop, the blood vessels constrict, conserving heat to the body. The brain also commands the mussels to shiver to generate heat and warming the body. The hairs rises, trapping more air on the surface and helping in keeping the body warm.
Osmoregulation refers to the process through which excess water, salts, and urea are removed from the body. The kidneys are the major organs in the body that are involved in regulating the amount of water and toxins in the body with the help of the aldosterone hormone. When the water level in the body falls, the information is sent to the brain and the information processed with the solution that the body needs more water (Rowland & Mark, 1999). As a result, the brain instructs the kidneys to reduce the amount of water being excreted from the body as there is a deficit. The kidneys filter more water from the waste and take it back into the body for use. Besides, the person begins to get thirsty, taking in more water which helps in increasing the level of water in the body. In the event of an increase of water in the body, the brain commands the kidneys to excrete more water as waste and this increases the rate of urination.
GlucoregulationGlucoregualtion involves the regulation of the amount of glucose in the body. The pancreas is the major organ in the body responsible for sugar regulation in the body. In the event of an increase in the glucose level in the body, the brain commands the pancreas to reduce the amount of insulin in the body allowing a chance for the body to utilize the already available glucose in the body (Abrahamson, 2016). The excess sugars are converted into fats and more complex sugars and stored in the body until there arises a need for more sugars. In the event of a decrease, the pancreas increases the amount of insulin into the body elevating the level of glucose in the blood, and the situation is restored back to normal.
Abrahamson, E. M. (2016). Body, Mind, & Sugar. Pickle Partners Publishing.
Baker, M. A. (1982). Brain cooling in endotherms in heat and exercise. Annual Review of Physiology, 44(1), 85-85.
Gustafson, C. E., Lamar, D. L., Weyand, C. M., & Goronzy, J. J. (2017). Age, T Cell Homeostasis, and T Cell Diversity in Humans. Handbook of Immunosenescence: Basic Understanding and Clinical Implications, 1-20.
Rowlands, M., & Mark, R. (1999). The body in mind: Understanding cognitive processes. Cambridge University Press.
Sherwood, L. (2015). Human physiology: from cells to systems. Cengage learning.