Karla News

The Brain Stem and What it Does

The brain stem is the lower portion of the brain at the connection between the head and neck. There are several small portions of the brain that have great significance located here. Also, this is where the brain connects to the spinal cord. Many of the cranial nerves run through this portion of the brain to follow the spinal column down through the body. The brain stem contains basically what is needed for the survival of the human and survival of the species.

What is in the Brain Stem?

Inside the brain stem are some of the most important portions of the brain, the midbrain, the pons and the medulla oblongata. These very small portions of the brain have a strong effect on how we live our lives.

The midbrain: This is the connection that helps merge the two sides of the brain. Since the brain is divided into two hemispheres, there has to be some connection to keep the two hemispheres of the brain connected to create one perception of the world and allow them to work together.

The pons: The pons helps connect the brain together as well. It is a relay center from the medulla to the other parts of the brain. It also contains the respiratory center and subconsciously controls the input and output of air. If this area is damaged, the respiratory center can shut down completely.

The medulla oblongata: This portion of the brain actually controls a lot of our daily functions. It helps control the respiratory system, the cardiac centers, and reflexes such as coughing, gagging, swallowing, and vomiting.

See also  Comparing U.S. Health Care to England's System

Other functions: The brain stem is also responsible for our alertness and arousal from sleep.

What Happens if the Brain Stem is Damaged?

If the brain stem is damaged, many things can happen. The respiratory center of the brain may become temporarily out of order, or permanently shut down. This part of the brain is actually located in a very easily damaged spot and is surrounded by bone extrusions. Unfortunately, many times that it is damaged are a result of a car injury or something that pulls the neck forward or backward in a violent manner.

Learning about the physical characteristics of the brain is great. However, you must then take psychology to understand the full function of each part of the brain. Each part of the brain has a lot to do with our daily functions. They work separately, yet together to create who you are and who you will become. The most important part of learning about the human brain and body for me, was to make it fun. Do not approach your book with dread. Approach it with a positive attitude that says you can do this and that you will understand it, even if you have to trick yourself into thinking it. Remember, perception is reality.











Other Articles From This Author:

The Temporal Lobe

All About the Parietal Lobe

Frontal Lobe of the Human Brain

How Your Brain Works – The Occipital Lobe