Student Preparation Guide


  • Describe the gross anatomy of the spinal cord and its relationship to the vertebral canal and the organization of blood supply to the spinal cord.
  • Identify the meningeal layers around the spinal cord and relate these to the spaces they border with and define. Explain the functional importance of these spaces for clinical practice.
  • Identify the location of the major ascending and descending pathways in the spinal cord (dorsal-column-medial lemniscus system, anterolateral system, corticospinal tract).
  • Trace the longitudinal course of the corticospinal tract, the posterior column-medial lemniscus system and the anterolateral system throughout the spinal cord and brainstem with emphasis on the somatotopic arrangement of fibres, the site of crossing and the modalities carried within these tracts. Use both your gross specimens and your micrographs.
  • Differentiate between conscious and unconscious proprioception and understand the underlying neuroanatomical pathways.
  • Understand the location of sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons in the spinal cord.
  • Relate the neuroanatomy of micturition to the underlying pathways and their locations in the brainstem and spinal cord. Correlate clinical presentations of bladder dysfunction to lesions of these pathways.


Introduction to the Spinal Cord

Development of Spinal Nerves

Additional Links

Spinothalamic Tract

(handwritten tutorial)

Corticospinal Tract

(handwritten tutorial)

Lumbar Puncture

(NEJM video)

Micturition Reflex

(animated presentation)
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