cranial nerves

Definition of cranial nerve

cranial nerve

(KRAY-nee-ul nerv)
One of twelve pairs of nerves that pass from the brain, through openings in the skull, to different areas of the head, neck, chest, and abdomen. The cranial nerves send information between the brain and the sense organs (the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue). They also send information to the muscles in the face, head, neck, and other organs in the body, including the larynx (voice box), heart, lungs, stomach, and intestines. The cranial nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system.

Source: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms