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What is the difference between a somatic and autonomic reflex?

Somatic reflexes involve skeletal muscles, while autonomic reflexes involve smooth muscle and glands.

Somatic reflexes are those that involve skeletal muscles. These reflexes are voluntary and involve a sensory neuron, an interneuron in the spinal cord, and a motor neuron that stimulates the skeletal muscle to contract. Examples of somatic reflexes include the knee-jerk reflex and the withdrawal reflex.

Autonomic reflexes, on the other hand, involve smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands. These reflexes are involuntary and are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the "fight or flight" response, while the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the "rest and digest" response.

Examples of autonomic reflexes include the pupillary reflex, which controls the size of the pupils in response to changes in light, and the baroreceptor reflex, which regulates blood pressure. Autonomic reflexes are important for maintaining homeostasis in the body, ensuring that the body's internal environment remains stable despite changes in the external environment.

In summary, somatic reflexes involve skeletal muscles and are voluntary, while autonomic reflexes involve smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and glands and are involuntary. Both types of reflexes are important for maintaining homeostasis in the body.

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