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Vagus nerve - Definition



Definition

The vagus nerve, also known as the pneumogastric nerve, is a long pair of nerves (one on each side of the body) that runs through a large part of the human body from the brain to the abdomen. It comes into contact with a large number of respiratory, cardiac, and notably digestive organs and muscles. Simultaneously carrying out motor functions: through enabling smooth, involuntary muscle contraction and relaxation; and sensory functions: ensuring the sensitivity of the areas it passes through. The vagus nerve is also an important element of the autonomic or vegetative nervous system in its capacity to convey nerve impulses governing the autonomous activities of many organs. An excessive activation of the vagus nerve could induce vasovagal syncope, a fairly common, non-threatening condition.

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