Physical assessment DQ student reply week 11 Maydeli Capo

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Descending Spinal Tract

  • Corticospinal, reticulospinal, and vestibulospinal
  • Sends impulses from the brain to muscle groups
  • Control muscle tone, posture, and motor movements
  • Efferent
  1. Ascending Spinal Tract
  2. Spinothalamic and spinocerebellar
  3. Sends sensory signals to accomplish complex tasks
  4. Ascending tracts recognize exact stimulus and location
  5. Contains fibers that discriminate rough from light touch, temperature and pain
  6. Afferent
  • If the spinal cord is completely severed, then complete loss of function below the point if injury is expected (Ball, Dains, Flynn, Solomon & Stewart, 2015).
  • The nervous system is a group of nerves and neurons that transmit messages to different parts of the body. It is in charge of coordinating and controlling the body (Ball et al., 2015). The nervous system is divided into the central and the peripheral nervous system, further subdivided into autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic. The central nervous system is comprised of the brain. The peripheral nervous systems is comprised of the cranial and spinal nerves and the ascending and descending pathways (Ball et al., 2015). With all parts functioning properly the nervous system is able to receive and identify stimuli, control voluntary and involuntary body functions (Ball et al., 2015).
  • The three major units of the brain are the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brainstem (Ball et al., 2015).
  • The difference between the ascending and descending tracts is that the ascending is sensory (afferent) because it delivers information to the brain and the descending tract delivers motor (efferent) information to the periphery (Ball et al., 2015)
  • The pituitary gland regulates metabolic processes and controls growth, lactation, and vasoconstriction through hormonal regulation (Ball et al., 2015).
  • The fourth cranial nerve is called trochlear and it is in charge of the downward and inward movement of the eye (Ball et al., 2015).
  • Risk factors for cerebrovascular accidents include hypertension, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, stress, high cholesterol/triglycerides/lipoproteins, congenital conditions and family history of cerebrovascular accidents (Ball et al., 2015).
  • The 5.07 monofilament test is used to test sensation in different parts of the foot in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus or peripheral neuropathy (Ball et al., 2015).  
  • The 0 to 4+ scale is used to grade the response when testing the reflex. 0 indicates no response and 4+ indicates hyperactive reflex (Ball et al., 2015).
  • Older adults may be taking medication for other conditions that can affect their balance, mental status and coordination and it is important know this in order to rule out whether a symptom is due to a side effect or a cause for concern (Ball et al., 2015).
  • Meningitis that occurs during the first year may cause epilepsy later on in life, also any infection in the first year of life can impair brain functioning and development (Ball et al., 2015).
  • Peripheral neuropathy is a loss of motor and sensory function due to diabetes mellitus, vitamin B12 deficiency, Lyme disease, HIV infection, poor blood circulation and altered lipid metabolism. In this case the cause of EI’s neuropathy is Diabetes Mellitus due to the elevated A1c (Ball et al., 2015).
  • Objective data in peripheral neuropathy include reduced sensation in the foot, inability to feel sharp touch, diminished distal pulses, unable to stand on toes or heels, skin ulcers in extremities that are often not felt by the patient and decreased sensation below the knees (Ball et al., 2015).
  • The best technique to assess for peripheral neuropathy is the 5.07 monofilament test because it assesses sensation in different areas of the foot (Ball et al., 2015).


Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2015). Seidels guide to physical examination. St. Louis, MI: Elsevier Mosby.

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