Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anatomy of the Brain

Human Brain

The anatomy of the brain is complex due its intricate structure and function. This amazing organ acts as a control center by receiving, interpreting, and directing sensory information throughout the body. There are three major divisions of the brain. They are the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain.

Anatomy of the Brain: Brain Divisions

The forebrain is responsible for a variety of functions including receiving and processing sensory information, thinking, perceiving, producing and understanding language, and controlling motor function. There are two major divisions of forebrain: the diencephalon and the telencephalon. The diencephalon contains structures such as the thalamus and hypothalamus which are responsible for such functions as motor control, relaying sensory information, and controlling autonomic functions. The telencephalon contains the largest part of the brain, the cerebral cortex. Most of the actual information processing in the brain takes place in the cerebral cortex.

The midbrain and the hindbrain together make up the brainstem. The midbrain is the portion of the brainstem that connects the hindbrain and the forebrain. This region of the brain is involved in auditory and visual responses as well as motor function.

The hindbrain extends from the spinal cord and is composed of the metencephalon and myelencephalon. The metencephalon contains structures such as the pons and cerebellum. These regions assists in maintaining balance and equilibrium, movement coordination, and the conduction of sensory information. The myelencephalon is composed of the medulla oblongata which is responsible for controlling such autonomic functions as breathing, heart rate, and digestion.

Anatomy of the Brain: Structures

The brain contains various structures that have a multitude of functions. Below is a list of major structures of the brain and some of their functions.