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ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE BRAIN

*The brain is divided into the cerebrum, diencephalon, brain stem, and cerebellum.

CEREBRUM  The largest and most obvious portion of the brain is the cerebrum, which is divided by a deep longitudinal fissure into two cerebral hemispheres. The two hemispheres are two separate entities but are connected by an arching band of white fibers, called the corpus callosum that provides a communication pathway between the two halves. Each cerebral hemisphere is divided into four lobes: the fontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, and the temporal lobe. FRONTAL LOBE  The frontal lobe is home to our cognitive thinking, and it is this process that determines and shapes an individual's personality. In human beings, the frontal lobe attains maturity when the individual is around the age of 25. This means that by the time we are 25 years of age, we have achieved a level of cognitive maturity. The frontal lobe is extremely vulnerable to injury due to its location as it's in front of the central cranium. The frontal lobe is made up of the anterior portion (prefrontal cortex) and the posterior portion, and is divided from the parietal lobe by the central sulcus. The anterior portion is responsible for higher cognitive functions, and the posterior portion consists of the premotor and motor areas, thus, governing our voluntary movements. The functions of the frontal lobe include reasoning, planning, organizing thoughts, behavior, sexual urges, emotions, problem-solving, judging, and organizing parts of speech and motor skills (movement). PARIETAL LOBE  The parietal lobe is located behind the central sulcus, and above the occipital lobe. It has four anatomical boundaries; the central sulcus, which separates the parietal lobe from the frontal lobe, the parieto-occipital sulcus which separates the parietal and occipital lobes, the lateral sulcus which separates the parietal from the temporal lobe, and the medial longitudinal fissure which divides the two hemispheres (right and left). The parietal lobe is responsible for integrating sensory information from various parts of the body. The functions of the parietal lobe include information processing, movement, spatial orientation, speech, visual perception, recognition, perception of stimuli, pain and touch sensation, cognition.

consists of two oval masses of gray matter that serve as relay stations for sensory impulses. Between them. as it contains the primary visual cortex. movement and color recognition. at about the level of the ears. It includes the thalamus. the occipital lobes are located in the rearmost portion of the skull and because of their location. hypothalamus. except for the sense of smell. The functions of the occipital lobe include visual reception. Occipital lobe is located on the tentorium cerebelli.OCCIPITAL LOBE  The smallest of all the four lobes. It is responsible for visual perception system. going to the cerebral cortex. hearing. although significant trauma can disrupt the visual-perceptual system. and epithalamus. . Disorders of the occipital lobe can cause visual illusions. The temporal lobes contain the primary auditory cortex. responsible for formation of long-term memory and sorting new information. about 80 percent of the diencephalons. visual-spatial processing. and hence. The thalamus. speech and memory. TEMPORAL LOBE  There are two temporal lobes. These lobes also contain the hippocampus. they are not particularly vulnerable to injury. This small gland is involved with the onset of puberty and rhythmic cycles in the body. left and right. The hypothalamus is a small region below the thalamus. DIENCEPHALON  The diencephalons is centrally located and is nearly surrounded by the cerebral hemispheres. each of which are located on each side of the brain. The epithalamus is the most dorsal portion of the diencephalons. which plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis because it regulates many visceral activities. and thus. they control visual memory (right lobe) and verbal memory (left lobe). are responsible for all auditory processing. The functions of both (left and right) temporal lobes include distinguishing and discrimination of smell and sound from other smells and sounds respectively. that separates the cerebrum from the cerebellum.

It is continuous with the spinal cord at the foramen magnum. Many reflexes are mediated in the spinal cord without going to the higher brain centers. Like the brain. Reflexes are responses to stimuli that do not require conscious thought and consequently. or simply medulla. All the ascending (sensory) and descending (motor) nerve fibers connecting the brain and spinal cord pass through the medulla. pons. meninges. The spinal cord has two main functions:  Serving as a conduction pathway for impulses going to and from the brain. and medulla oblongata. extends inferiorly from the pons. called cerebellar peduncles. This region primarily consists of nerve fibers that form conduction tracts between the higher brain centers and spinal cord. CEREBELLUM  The cerebellum. form communication pathways between the cerebellum and other parts of the central nervous system VENTRICLES AND CEREBROSPINAL FLUID  A series of interconnected. The medulla oblongata. Sensory impulses travel to the brain on ascending tracts in the cord. The midbrain is the most superior portion of the brain stem. is located below the occipital lobes of the cerebrum. The pons is the bulging middle portion of the brain stem. . with the withdrawal reflex.  Serving as a reflex center. Three paired bundles of myelinated nerve fibers. the second largest portion of the brain.BRAINSTEM  The brain stem is the region between the diencephalons and the spinal cord. These cavities are the ventricles of the brain. The reflex arc is the functional unit of the nervous system. Motor impulses travel on descending tracts. It consists of three parts: midbrain. SPINAL CORD  The spinal cord extends from the foramen magnum at the base of the skull to the level of the first lumbar vertebra. fluid-filled cavities are found within the brain. and the fluid is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). the spinal cord is surrounded by bone. the reflex action withdraws the affected part before you are aware of the pain. they occur more quickly than reactions that require thought processes. For example. and cerebrospinal fluid. The cord is continuous with the medulla oblongata at theforamen magnum.