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The spinal cord

The spinal cord is the most elementary part of the central nervous system. It runs from the base of the spine up into the brainstem. While physically a single cord, functionally it is more two separate cords.

One of these cords is the sensory system, which transfers sensation from the body to the brain, and is connected in this direction. The other is transfers the motor control signals from the brainstem down to the individual muscles in the body.

There is some optimistic results from recent (2001) research which shows good results in regrowing one of these two pathways in animals, and other results show that the other direction should not be as difficult to regrow as was initially thought. This means that it could be possible to have human spinal cords repaired within another generation.