nerves in the spinal cord forms a tube that begins in the brain and extends the entire length of the vertebral column. this cord and the brain constitutes the central nervous system a complex and delicate structure which require multiple layers of protection. meninges help provide this protection in the form of a set of membranes that surround and support the spinal cord and brain. they are composed of three membranes called the pia mater arachnoid mater and dura mater.
outermost membrane the dura mater is the densest and thickest of the three and it is the most durable of the teams. it contains a network of blood vessels that helps supply blood to the other two teams in the meninges this membrane actually consists of two sub-layers :. the periosteal layer and inner meningeal layer in addition to providing protection for the nervous system and blood for the inner membrane surrounds the dura mater also protects dural sinuses. these are large channel-like structures that direct blood to the veins which returns it to the heart.
Although the primary function of the meninges is to protect the central nervous system these membranes themselves are vulnerable to certain types of damage. Head injuries can cause bleeding of the vessels of the membrane layers potentially causing blood to pool between layers or above the surface of the brain. if adequate blood builds up around the brain it can cause brain damage due to increased intracranial pressure.
meninges are still vulnerable to an infection called meningitis. this is a bacterial or viral infection that causes inflammation of the membranes. In most cases bacterial infections are more dangerous than viral infections because the latter tend to last only a few days. bacterial infections however may persist much longer potentially causing seizures and other life-threatening symptoms. Antibiotics can effectively treat the infection but temporary or permanent side effects such as epilepsy deafness and cognitive disability may occur.

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