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Definition of Cranial nerve VI

Cranial nerve VI: The sixth cranial nerve is the abducens nerve. It is a small motor nerve that has one task: to supply a muscle called the lateral rectus muscle that moves the eye outward.

Paralysis of the abducens nerve causes inward turning of the eye (internal strabismus) leading to double vision.

The cranial nerves, the abducens nerve included, emerge from or enter the skull (the cranium), as opposed to the spinal nerves which emerge from the vertebral column. There are twelve cranial nerves.

The word "abducens" comes from the Latin "ab-", away from + "ducere", to draw = to draw away. The abducens (or abducens) operates the lateral rectus muscle that draws the eye toward the side of the head. The abducens nerve is also called the abducens nerve.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7610
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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