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The Human Brain


Every animal you can think of -- mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians -- all have brains. But the human brain is unique. It gives us the power to think, plan, speak, imagine... It is truly an amazing organ.

The brain performs an incredible number of tasks:

  • It controls body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
  • It accepts a flood of information about the world around us from our various senses (eyes, ears, nose, etc.).
  • It handles physical motion when walking, talking, standing or sitting.
  • It lets you think, dream, reason and experience emotions.

All of these tasks are coordinated, controlled and regulated by an organ that is about the size of a small head of cauliflower: our brain.

Our brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves make up a complex, integrated information processing and control system. The scientific study of the brain and nervous system is called neuroscience or neurobiology. The central nervous system consist of the brain and the spinal cord. 


Regardless of the animal, brains have the following parts:



It consist of the cerebrum and the diencephalons.  
The cerebrum consists of the cortex, large fiber tracts and some deeper structures. It integrates information from all the sense organs, initiates motor functions, controls emotions and holds memory and thought processes.
The basic lower brain consists of the spinal cord, brainstem and diencephalons. Within each of these structures are centers of neuronal cell bodies, called nuclei, which are specialized for particular functions:
It is the narrow region of the fore brain lying behind and below the cerebral hemispheres. Its cavity is known as the third ventricle. The roof of the third ventricle, dorsally, is formed by the anterior choroid plexus which is thickened and folded piamater. Anterior choroids plexus is highly vascular. From the dorsal surface of the diencephalon arises the pineal body. The sides of the diencephalon are thickened to form the optic thalami. On the ventral side of the diencephalon lies a funnel-shaped depression called the infundibulum. A sac like oval body called the hypophysis is attached to the infundibulum. The hypophysis and infundibulum together form the pituitary body which is a major endocrine gland. In front of the pituitary body lies the optic chiasma; formed by the crossing of the optic nerves.
The diencephalon is an important part of the brain controlling the sensory and automatic adjustments. The hypothalamus and pituitary together form the major integrating centre for nervous and hormonal control mechanisms in the body.
Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland
These control visceral functions, body temperature and behavioural responses such as feeding, drinking, sexual response, aggression and pleasure.
The thalamus relays incoming sensory pathways to appropriate areas of the cortex, determines which sensory information actually reaches consciousness and participates in motor-information exchange between the cerebellum, basal ganglia and cortex.
The hypothalamus contains nuclei that control hormonal secretions from the pituitary gland. These centers govern sexual reproduction, eating, drinking, growth and maternal behavior such as lactation. The hypothalamus is also involved in almost all aspects of behavior, including our biological "clock," which is linked to the daily light-dark cycle.

Mid brain

The midbrain contains nuclei that link the various sections of the brain involved in motor functions, eye movements and auditory control. One portion, called the substantia nigra, is involved in voluntary movements; when it does not function, the tremor of Parkinson's disease is seen. Many of the involuntary actions are controlled by the mid-brain and hind brain.
It consists of two parts: Corpora quadrigemina and Cerebral peduncles. 
Corpora quadrigemina
The dorsal and lateral sides of the mid brain are thickened to form two pairs of optic lobes which collectively constitute the corpora quadrigemina. The optic lobes enclose very narrow optic ventricles. The corpora quandrigemina serve as centers for certain visual and auditory reflexes.
The cerebral peduncles are bundles of fibres which act as co-ordination center  between the cerebral cortex with other parts of the brain and the spinal cord.

Hind brain

It consist cerebellum , medulla oblongata. The pons form the floor of the brain.
The cerebellum integrates information from the vestibular system that indicates position and movement and uses this information to coordinate limb movements.
The medulla contains nuclei for regulating blood pressure and breathing, as well as nuclei for relaying information from the sense organs that comes in from the cranial nerves.
Brain stem
The brainstem consists of the medulla, pons and midbrain. The brainstem controls the reflexes and automatic functions, limb movements and visceral functions.
The pons contains nuclei that relay movement and position information from the cerebellum to the cortex. It also contains nuclei that are involved in breathing, taste and sleep.

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