Thursday, May 19, 2022

What Does The Brain Stem Control

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D Other Types Of Movements

Brain Stem – Human Brain Series – Part 10

Some of the muscles that are involved in the motor performance of swallowing also participate in several other types of motor behavior. These motor activities can be subdivided into simple motor events, called elementary reflexes, and more complex motor patterns such as mastication, respiration, speech, and several protective reflexes.

Medial Part Of The Emotional Motor System

The medial part of the emotional motor system consists of descending projections from the reticular formation that are involved in level-setting and modulatory functions . Once again, the vast majority of the research on this subject has been in animals. The caudal third of the locus coeruleus and the caudal raphe nuclei both send projections downward to the spinal cord, as depicted in Figure 4, and are responsible for descending pain modulation . The effect of norepinephrine from the locus coeruleus is mostly antinociceptive, while serotonin from the raphe nuclei can have varying effects depending upon the type of receptor activated . In rats, it has been shown that the midbrain tectum and the dorsal/lateral periaqueductal gray indirectly produce the analgesia that occurs in fear , through a primarily non-opioid mechanism involving GABAergic and serotonergic neurons . It is likely that this system of fear suppressing the pain system is still present in humans, allowing us to act and move rapidly in situations of threat .

FIGURE 4.Major structures involved in the Descending network. Periaqueductal gray. Locus coeruleus. Caudal raphe nuclei. Rostral ventrolateral medullary nuclei. Dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve. Green arrows: Descending projections from periaqueductal gray. Blue arrows: Descending projections from the caudal raphe and locus coeruleus.

Get To Know Your Brain Stem

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Youre alive. Youre breathing. Your heart is beating. Thats more than just good news for you it means that your brain stem is functioning as it should. Considered the oldest and most primitive part of the brain, this highly developed area not only keeps you standing on two feet, it also acts as a connection between the brain and the rest of the body, directing signals sent from the cerebrum to the spinal cord.

As with most areas of the brain, the brain stem consists of individual components. Each with different functions and responsibilities. So, lets take a look at the different areas of the brain stem, and how they act together to support our most basic functions of life.

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Rehabilitation For Brain Stem Stroke Patients

After the initial stay in the hospital, many stroke survivors spend time in inpatient rehabilitation, where they participate in 3-4 hours of therapy per day.

During this time, a team of therapists work with survivors to regain lost functions.

For instance, if a stroke survivor struggles with loss of sensation , an occupational therapist can help them with sensory retraining. This therapy helps retrain the brain to process sensation.

If the survivor struggles with locked-in syndrome, therapists can help the survivor accomplish passive range-of-motion exercises to help stimulate the brain and encourage recovery.

One of the overarching goals during rehabilitation is to spark neuroplasticity: the brains ability to rewire itself. Although its impossible to revive dead areas in the brain, neuroplasticity allows new areas of the brain to take on lost function.

It takes hard work and consistency, because neuroplasticity is activated through massed practice. This involves practicing the skills you want to improve on a regular basis.

This means that, after discharge from inpatient therapy, its imperative that stroke survivors continue with rehabilitation both at home and at outpatient therapy.

Sometimes it helps to learn from the experiences of other brain stem stroke survivors to see how they were affected and how they recovered. Recovery is highly unique, so keep this in mind when reading other survivors stories.

Components Of The Brainstem


The three components of the brainstem are the medulla oblongata, midbrain, and pons.

Brainstem Anatomy: Structures of the brainstem are depicted on these diagrams, including the midbrain, pons, medulla, basilar artery, and vertebral arteries.

The medulla oblongata is the lower half of the brainstem continuous with the spinal cord. Its upper part is continuous with the pons. The medulla contains the cardiac, respiratory, vomiting, and vasomotor centers regulating heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.

The midbrain is associated with vision, hearing, motor control, sleep and wake cycles, alertness, and temperature regulation.

The pons lies between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain. It contains tracts that carry signals from the cerebrum to the medulla and to the cerebellum. It also has tracts that carry sensory signals to the thalamus.

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In Short Does The Brain Control Breathing

Breathing is an automatic and rhythmic process constantly maintained that can be modified under the influence of the will, being able to change both the depth of the breath and its frequency.

Breathing is not always an absolutely regular and rhythmic process, since it must constantly adapt to the needs of the body, to provide the necessary oxygen for cellular metabolism and eliminate the carbon dioxide produced during it.

Basal rhythmic respiration, or eupnea, is regulated by the respiratory nervous centers located in the brain that collect information from the respiratory system and other parts of the body, to give rise to a response through the effector organs or respiratory muscles that will determine the depth of respiration, or tidal volume, and the rate.

The cerebral cortex also participates when it intervenes voluntarily in the respiratory process.

At the central level, respiration is controlled by various areas of the brain stem that are known as respiratory centers and are:

  • Bulbar centers.
  • Pneumotaxic center.
  • Higher centers.

The genesis of the basic rhythm of respiration is based on the alternating activity of the inspiratory and expiratory bulbar centers, which constitute the central generator of the respiratory rhythm.

In resting or basal breathing conditions, inspiratory activity is generated automatically, causing the diaphragm to contract. Then this activity stops, which will cause the diaphragm to relax, after which they will discharge again.

Tissues Covering The Brain

Within the skull, the brain is covered by three layers of tissue called the meninges.

No computer has yet come close to matching the capabilities of the human brain. However, this sophistication comes with a price. The brain needs constant nourishment. It demands an extremely large amount and continuous flow of blood and oxygenabout 25% of the blood flow from the heart. The overall energy consumption of the brain does not change much over time, but certain areas of the brain, use more energy during periods of increased activity . A loss of blood flow to the brain for more than about 10 seconds can cause a loss of consciousness.

Lack of oxygen or abnormally low sugar levels in the blood can result in less energy for the brain and can seriously injure the brain within 4 minutes. However, the brain is defended by several mechanisms that can work to prevent these problems. For example, if blood flow to the brain decreases, the brain immediately signals the heart to beat faster and more forcefully, and thus to pump more blood. If the sugar level in the blood becomes too low, the brain signals the adrenal glands to release epinephrine , which stimulates the liver to release stored sugar.

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So What Does The Brain Stem Control Review

The brain stem may feel like it is just a bridge between the spinal cord and the rest of the nervous system, but it is much more than that. Multiples neural fibres that pass through the spinal cord are aligned with the brainstem.

It is made up mainly of gray matter and white matter. Almost all the cranial nerves, or cranial nerves, exit from the same brain stem. Thus, the nerve impulses sent by the spinal cord must pass through the different regions of the brain stem.

Within this structure, we find areas that contain islets of gray matter, the best known is the red nucleus of the midbrain. Other areas located on the outside contain white matter.

In addition to the well-defined areas of gray and white matter, it has another area where both substances are mixed: the reticular formation. In other words, it has both control cores and very important connection areas.

It is divided into three sections or substructures: the midbrain, the brainstem bridge, and the medulla oblongata.

Location And Basic Physiology

027 The 3 parts of the brain stem and their functions

In vertebrate anatomy, the brainstem is the most inferior portion of the brain, adjoining and structurally continuous with the brain and spinal cord. The brainstem gives rise to cranial nerves 3 through 12 and provides the main motor and sensory innervation to the face and neck via the cranial nerves. Though small, it is an extremely important part of the brain, as the nerve connections of the motor and sensory systems from the main part of the brain that communicate with the peripheral nervous system pass through the brainstem. This includes the corticospinal tract , the posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway and the spinothalamic tract . The brain stem also plays an important role in the regulation of cardiac and respiratory function. It regulates the central nervous system and is pivotal in maintaining consciousness and regulating the sleep cycle.

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Brain Stem Stroke Survivor Stories

Flint Rehab has had the pleasure of speaking with various brain stem stroke survivors to learn about their experiences, and wed like to share a couple of those stories with you.

First, wed like to share from Becky, who experienced a brain stem stroke at the end of November 2007.

Initially, she was paralyzed from the neck down and now she is able to move her body again. Not all patients can recover from locked-in syndrome like Becky, but she shows that recovery is possible. Check out her story in the video below:

Next we spoke with a stroke survivor named Luke, who experienced a brain stem stroke in July 2019. Heres what he said:

Luke intends to try again to return to college, and overall has made significant progress in just one year post-stroke.

We hope these recovery stories help shine some light on how other survivors were affected by a stroke in the brain stem, and how intensive rehabilitation helps with recovery.

Not all stroke survivors will experience these same results, but its important to try. Believing that recovery is possible will motivate you to take action, which is how results are made.

Can You Recover From A Brain Stem Injury

Damage to some parts of the brain can be managed, however, brain stem injuries can be very difficult to and fatal to your overall health. It can even potentially cause permanent damage.

Thats because the brain stem connects your brain to all other parts of your body. Without a brain stem, that connection would be lost and your body cant function.

Injuries to the brain stem can affect your personality and even paralyze you. Since this is a very sensitive part of the brain, today treatment is limited and very expensive.

Its not about mental intelligence, its about mental fitness.

Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalleys Superbrain Program

Brain stem treatment

Its not all bad news when it comes to treating brain stem injuries. As long as the injury is diagnosed early enough, it can be in many cases highly treatable.

Depending on the nature of the injury of course, and what areas of the body are affected, specific exercises and therapy can help strengthen the brain stems function.

Like any other muscle in your body, your brain including the brain stem grows and develops with regular exercise. This includes both actual physical exercise and brain workouts. Together, they stimulate the generation of new neurons and help keep your brain young and active.

How do you keep your brain healthy and sharp?

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What Part Of The Body Does The Brain Stem Control

The brain stem sits beneath the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum. It connects the rest of the brain to the spinal cord, which runs down your neck and back. The brain stem is in charge of all the functions your body needs to stay alive, like breathing air, digesting food, and circulating blood.

How Does The Brain Work

027 The 3 parts of the brain stem and their functions ...

The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals control different processes, and your brain interprets each. Some make you feel tired, for example, while others make you feel pain.

Some messages are kept within the brain, while others are relayed through the spine and across the bodys vast network of nerves to distant extremities. To do this, the central nervous system relies on billions of neurons .

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Brainstem Motor Systems And Peripheral Signaling

Brainstem motor systems control eating behavior and food digestion. The trigeminal, facial, and hypoglossal cranial nuclei in the brainstem are responsible for the chewing and swallowing motor behaviors involved in eating. The dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus contains motoneurons that project to the gut, liver, and pancreas to control gastric motility and secretion. Neurons in the DMX are organized topographically, with descending fiber projections organized in distinct columns that control different parts of the gut. Positive feed-forward information signaling the presence of food in the mouth or stomach is relayed from the gut to cortex, amygdala, and hypothalamus, and then transmitted to the brainstem. The brainstem integrates information and sends efferent signals to initiate chewing and gastric motility when appropriate.

Chronically maintained decerebrate rats, whose caudal brainstem is dissociated from the forebrain, are able to regulate meal size and show similar energetic response to food deprivation as control rats, with both groups showing reduced energy expenditure and respiratory quotient. Decerebrate and control rats also respond to insulin administration with increased intraoral intake, and both groups respond to administration of the competitive glucose analog 2-deoxy-d-glucose with sympathoadrenal hyperglycemia. Thus, the caudal brainstem is sufficient to maintain some aspects of the control of food intake and energy expenditure.

Blood Supply To The Brain

Two sets of blood vessels supply blood and oxygen to the brain: the vertebral arteries and the carotid arteries.

The external carotid arteries extend up the sides of your neck, and are where you can feel your pulse when you touch the area with your fingertips. The internal carotid arteries branch into the skull and circulate blood to the front part of the brain.

The vertebral arteries follow the spinal column into the skull, where they join together at the brainstem and form the basilar artery, which supplies blood to the rear portions of the brain.

The circle of Willis, a loop of blood vessels near the bottom of the brain that connects major arteries, circulates blood from the front of the brain to the back and helps the arterial systems communicate with one another.

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The Lobes Of The Brain

Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into four lobes: frontal, temporal, occipital and parietal. The frontal lobes are the largest sections of the brain and make up the front portion of the cerebrum. The frontal lobes are the main thought processing center and control reasoning, problem solving, decision making, language and personality traits.

The temporal lobes are found on the sides of the brain, just above the ears. This part of the brain is responsible for short-term memory, understanding speech and recognizing sounds. Together with the frontal lobes, they identify and process smells.

The back portion of the cerebrum are the occipital lobes, which control vision. Lying interior to the frontal, temporal and occipital lobes are the parietal lobes. The parietals are the sensory processing center of the brain and are responsible for spoken language and learning.

Can The Brain Stem Heal Itself

How does the brain work?

The brain is not able to repair itself. However, some cells that can regenerate again have been discovered, but are still under study.

In this brief guide we answered the question What does the brain stem control? We described what the brain stem is, explained its main functions, and determined why this brain structure is so important.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!

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C Nature Of The Swallowing Cpg

In keeping with the new principles involving flexible circuits, recent results have suggested that within the swallowing CPG, some neurons may participate in activities other than just swallowing-related ones. It has been established that not only motoneurons, but also interneurons can be involved in at least two different tasks, such as swallowing and respiration, swallowing and mastication, or swallowing and vocalization.

With regard to the swallowing motoneurons, some recent results have indicated that ambigual, trigeminal, and hypoglossal motoneurons can fire both in phase with respiration and during deglutition, as well as with swallowing and mastication, swallowing and vocalization, and even during swallowing, vocalization, and respiration . Therefore, common motoneurons may be involved in these activities. By driving muscles that can participate in two or more activities, these motoneurons probably participate in the fine tuning of the muscular activity during the motor behavior. These motoneurons presumably receive a drive from separate CPGs, and their activity no doubt depends on synaptic interactions between the two networks.

About Brain Stem Death

Brain stem death is when a person no longer has any brain stem functions, and has permanently lost the potential for consciousness and the capacity to breathe.

When this happens, a ventilator keeps the person’s heart beating and oxygen circulating through their bloodstream.

A person is confirmed as being dead when their brain stem function is permanently lost.

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The 3 Functions Of The Brain Stem

To summarize, you can say that all the individual roles of the brain stem can be summed up into three main functions. These include:

  • Serving as communication between the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Controlling the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  • Housing cranial nerve nuclei that are instrumental to movement and sensory functions.
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