When we consider a human body we commonly see the skeletal (i.e. bones) as the structural core with all the other tissue surrounding it. But is this really the scaffolding which knits everything together?
If the bone were the scaffolding then should we not be able to recognise a person from their skeleton alone? The common person would find it difficult to differentiate a female from a male skeleton whilst an expert would be able to identify an approximate age and gender but little more. However if we were to remove every piece of tissue with the exception of our blood vessels, you would have enough detail to recognise your family member or friend. The same is true of our nerves.
When we consider our development within the womb, the nervous systems is the first to arrive on the scene in week 2. The blood system (i.e. blood vessels and heart) and the embryonic tissue that will form our muscles / bones (termed mesoderm) arrives together in week 4. The nervous system will dominate the growth of the embryo for the first 6 week thereafter the other tissues grow outwards together influencing each other as they progress.
In general we can describe this interaction as the mesodermal cells multiplying outwards and suck / drag the blood vessels and nerves with them. In this way they [blood vessels and nerves] become embedded in the developing tissue to such an extent that no cell is a cell width away from a blood vessel or nerve! In addition, due to the tensile strength of the blood vessels and nerves they provide resistance to the growth thus influence the overall shape of the muscle or bone.
In this way the blood vessels and nerves form a scaffold throughout the body which give our muscles / bones a unified strength. When we consider the reach of our blood vessels and nerves it begs the question ‘what are the consequences of dysfunction in these systems?’. In a world where stress and anxiety are high can we be certain that these abnormalities are confined to the nervous system alone. In a world where blood pressure is commonly high, can we be certain that this is just a problem for the cardiovascular system alone?