HEART The essential function of the heart is to pump blood to various parts of the body.

The mammalian heart has four chambers: right and left atria and right and left ventricles. The two atria act as collecting reservoirs for blood returning to the heart while the two ventricles act as pumps to eject the blood to the body. As in any pumping system, the heart comes complete with valves to prevent the back flow of blood. Deoxygenated blood returns to the heart via the major veins (superior and inferior vena cava), enters the right atrium, passes into the right ventricle, and from there is ejected to the pulmonary artery on the way to the lungs. Oxygenated blood returning from the lungs enters the left atrium via the pulmonary veins, passes into the left ventricle, and is then ejected to the aorta. In the frontal view of the heart shown below, the right atrium is in blue, the left atrium in yellow, the right ventricle in purple, and the left ventricle in red. The chambers are semi-transparent so that the valves, drawn in white, can be seen.

BRAIN The human brain is the center of the human nervous system. Enclosed in the cranium, the human brain has the same general structure as that of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Most of the spatial expansion comes from the cerebral cortex, a convoluted layer of neural tissue which covers the surface of the forebrain. Especially expanded are the frontal lobes, which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the brain devoted to vision, the occipital lobe, is also greatly enlarged in human beings. The brain monitors and regulates the body's actions and reactions. It continuously receives sensory information, and rapidly analyzes this data and then responds accordingly by controlling bodily actions and functions. The brainstem controls breathing, heart rate, and other autonomic processes that are independent of conscious brain functions. The neocortex is the center of higher-order thinking, learning, and memory. The cerebellum is responsible for the body's balance, posture, and the coordination of movement. Despite being protected by the thick bones of the skull, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and isolated from the bloodstream by the blood-brain barrier, the human brain is susceptible to many types of damage and disease. The most common forms of physical damage are closed head injuries such as a blow to the head, a stroke, or poisoning by a wide variety of chemicals that

although the nature of such brain anomalies is not well understood. though serious. multiple sclerosis. are thought to be associated with brain dysfunctions.can act as neurotoxins. such as Parkinson's disease. The human brain is also susceptible to degenerative disorders. Infection of the brain. is rare due to the biological barriers which protect it. . and Alzheimer's disease. such as schizophrenia and depression. A number of psychiatric conditions.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful