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What Does The Thalamus Do In The Brain

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How Do You Know If Your Thalamus Is Damaged

Where is the thalamus?

Speech and Cognitive Therapy While thalamus damage primarily causes sensory problems, it can also lead to behavioral and cognitive changes. For example, many patients with a thalamus injury have incorrect speech patterns and can struggle to find the right words. Others display apathy and memory problems.

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The Biggest Part: The Cerebrum

The biggest part of the brain is the cerebrum. The cerebrum is the thinking part of the brain and it controls your voluntary muscles the ones that move when you want them to. So you need your cerebrum to dance or kick a soccer ball.

You need your cerebrum to solve math problems, figure out a video game, and draw a picture. Your memory lives in the cerebrum both short-term memory and long-term memory . The cerebrum also helps you reason, like when you figure out that youd better do your homework now because your mom is taking you to a movie later.

The cerebrum has two halves, with one on either side of the head. Scientists think that the right half helps you think about abstract things like music, colors, and shapes. The left half is said to be more analytical, helping you with math, logic, and speech. Scientists do know for sure that the right half of the cerebrum controls the left side of your body, and the left half controls the right side.

Important Brain Network For Processing Sensory Perceptions Elucidated

Technical University of Munich
Every day, we constantly absorb information through our sensory organs, which the brain then needs to process correctly. The information initially reaches the thalamus and then travels to the cerebral cortex. The neurons in the so-called higher-order thalamus form the connecting lines between both brain areas. Prior to this, their role in sensory processing was unknown. Scientists have now shown that they enhance and temporarily store sensory information.

Every day, we constantly absorb information through our sensory organs, which the brain then needs to process correctly. The information initially reaches the main relay center, the thalamus, and then travels to the cerebral cortex. The neurons in the so-called higher-order thalamus form the connecting lines between both areas of the brain. Prior to this, their role in sensory processing was unknown. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich have now shown for the first time in an animal model that they enhance and temporarily store sensory information.

Animal model for researching sensory stimuli

“Higher-order” thalamus enhances and stores signals

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The Structure Of The Brain

The developing brain goes through many stages. In the embryos of vertebrates, the predecessor to the brain and spinal cord is the neural tube. As the fetus develops, the grooves and folds in the neural tube deepen, giving rise to different layers of the brain. The human brain is split up into three major layers: the hindbrain, the midbrain, and the forebrain.

The embryonic brain: The layers of the embryonic brain. The telencephalon and diencephalon give rise to the forebrain, while the metencephalon and myelencephalon give rise to the hindbrain.

Clinical Correlation Of Csf

What does the Thalamus do?

CSF analysis is an investigative technique performed to know CSF constituents. It may give different results for different clinical conditions and therefore helps in making the right clinical diagnosis. The procedure performed to obtain CSF is known as a lumbar puncture.

The abnormal accumulation of extra CSF in the brain ventricles is called hydrocephalus. It leads to increased intracranial pressure. If this occurs during the mental development of the fetus, it leads to an enlarged cranium, a condition known as congenital hydrocephalus. It results in mental disability and convulsions, requiring prompt intervention. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

Baricity;is the density of a certain drug compared to the density of the cerebrospinal fluid. It is important in;anesthesiology, where the duration of;anesthesia;depends on the rate that a certain drug spreads into the;intrathecal space as well as on the patients position. For example, if a spinal anesthesia drug has higher baricity than the CSF, then the patient should be positioned so that the lower limbs at a lower level than the rest of the body. When the anesthetic effect is desired more proximally, the patients position can be altered to maximize the anesthetic agents flow and distribution.

Duvernoy, H. and Risold, P. . The circumventricular organs: An atlas of comparative anatomy and vascularization. Brain Research Reviews, 56, pp.119-147.

Ganong W. Review of medical physiology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2005.

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The Central Nervous System

Fig. 1.14. The teleost brain. Dorsal view of the brain of the rainbow trout. By Neale Monks at en.wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,

Spinal cord: The spinal cord is enclosed in the neural canal of the vertebral column extending the whole length of the body. It serves to transmit motor messages to the peripheral nervous system and sends sensory messages back to the brain. The basic structure of the spinal cord in fishes resembles that of higher vertebrates .

Ruby Sound, in, 2021

Posterior Region Of The Hypothalamus

This region is also divided into the medial and lateral areas.;The medial area consists of:

  • The mammillary nuclei, which controls;memory.
  • The posterior nucleus, which increases blood pressure, causes pupillary dilatation and;shivering.

The lateral area includes the tuberomammillary nucleus, which controls;learning, memory, sleep, wakefulness, feeding, and energy balance.

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Integration Of Sensations With Emotions

The dorsomedial nucleus of thalamus integrates the somatic, visceral and olfactory sensations of a person. This integrated information is fed to the mammillothalamic tract resulting in the emotional response to the sensation.

The medial and lateral geniculate bodies are part of auditory and visual pathways, respectively. Thus, it is essential for normal hearing and visual process of a person. Its disease will affect hearing as well as vision.

Development Of The Thalamus

The Thalamus

The thalamus is derived from the embryonic diencephalon and early in development becomes divided into two progenitor domains, the caudal domain and the rostral domain. The patterning of these domains is driven by the mid-diencephalic organizer , which sets a gradient of transcription factors to form distinct thalamic regions. Differential transcription of genes leads to neuronal differentiation. The caudal progenitor domain leads to the development of excitatory glutamatergic neurons , which contribute to the formation of the functionally and spatially distinct groups of neurons known as the thalamic nuclei. The rostral progenitor domain leads to the development of inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid neurons that form the thalamic reticular nucleus.

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Neural Connections Of The Mediodorsal Thalamus

Prefrontal cortex afferents and efferents

In rodents and non-human primates, there are substantial reciprocal interconnections between the PFC and the MD . Higher order thalamic structures, like the MD receive inputs from different cortical layers. The majority of projection neurons to the MD originate from layer VI and V ; mainly from within the deep regions of these layers. The cortical layer V pyramidal neurons also have branches of long descending axons going to motor centers . Guillery also proposed that these higher order thalamic nuclei play a key role in cortico-cortical communication and higher cortical functioning . Thalamic neurons innervated by cortical layer VI project focally to the middle cortical layers and thalamic neurons innervated by cortical layer V project widely to the superficial cortical layers which are involved in cortico-cortical communications . In addition, there are nonreciprocal components to the thalamo-cortical links, indicating a dual role for the MD in integrating basal ganglia outputs within specific cortical circuits , as well as mediating information flow between cortico-cortical structures via this transthalamic route . Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter of communication between thalamus and cortex .

Figure 3. Schematic illustrations of the main connections of the MDmc, MDpc and MDl in the brain. Abbreviations are provided in the text.

Medial temporal lobes afferents and efferents

Maturation And Parcellation Of The Thalamus

After its induction, the MDO starts to orchestrate the development of the thalamic anlage by release of signalling molecules such as SHH. In mice, the function of signaling at the MDO has not been addressed directly due to a complete absence of the diencephalon in SHH mutants.

Studies in chicks have shown that SHH is both necessary and sufficient for thalamic gene induction. In zebrafish, it was shown that the expression of two SHH genes, SHH-a and SHH-b mark the MDO territory, and that SHH signaling is sufficient for the molecular differentiation of both the prethalamus and the thalamus but is not required for their maintenance and SHH signaling from the MDO/alar plate is sufficient for the maturation of prethalamic and thalamic territory while ventral Shh signals are dispensable.

The exposure to SHH leads to differentiation of thalamic neurons. SHH signaling from the MDO induces a posterior-to-anterior wave of expression the proneural gene Neurogenin1 in the major part of the thalamus, and Ascl1 in the remaining narrow stripe of rostral thalamic cells immediately adjacent to the MDO, and in the prethalamus.

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What Does It Do

The thalamus is traditionally known for its job as a sensory relay in the systems like hearing, vision, taste, and perception of sensory stimuli from the skin and internal organs. The latest research has pointed out some more jobs performed by this part of the brain, which include motor activity, memory, emotions, and arousal, etc.Richard Stevko enlists and describes various functions performed by the thalamus in the book Neurophysiology.

When you drive in traffic, run through the woods, dream, or suffer a bellyache, you are surrounded with masses of internal and external data coming to you through the sensory system. It needs to be sorted, which is done by the thalamus. The thalamus serves the functions of correlation and making a perception out of sensation.

Another important function of the thalamus is that it helps you to create a partial awareness of the sensory stimuli received from the peripheral organs. On receiving a sensation, you use the thalamus to focus on, become aware of, and initiate the formulation of thought.

With this part of the brain, you can also focus on or maintain attention. During this process, the thalamus temporarily makes certain areas in the cerebral cortex more receptive and sensitive to the coming data.

Structural Changes During Depression

What Is Thalamus and How It Looks Like?

Recent studies have analyzed structural changes in the physical makeup of brains with depression. One change these studies detected was the shrinking of the hippocampus in patients who were depressed.

When your hippocampus gets smaller, you might struggle with executive functioning skills. You might also have trouble concentrating or making decisions.

Another study showed that hippocampus damage can affect your imagination, creativity, and social skills. This can have a significant impact on your ability to carry out daily tasks.

Negative impacts on the thalamus can affect higher level functions like talking and learning. Prolonged depression can also impact our sleeping patterns and the ability to process sensory information.

In patients with depression, the amygdala is also affected. Some studies have shown increased activity in the amygdala during depression. This can indicate a high level of anxiety and fear.

The amygdala helps organize your emotional responses to stressful events. When this region is too active, it might be hard to control your emotional response to triggers.

Finally, depression can have a major impact on communication between your nerve cells. Neurons might send too much information. Or they might become oversensitive to all the signals coming in and out.

New technologies bring promise to address these issues. These devices can help restore normal brain communication and function. One promising option in this arena is TMS.

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Does The Thalamus Process Smell

Odors are processed a little bit differently than the other sensory systems, because all other sensory systems are routed through a structure in the brain called the thalamus, which is sort of like a gatekeeper, Dalton said. Smell bypasses the thalamus, which Dalton calls the consciousness detector.

How Does The Brain Work

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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What Are The Parts Of The Brain

The brain has three main sections: the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain.

The Forebrain

The forebrain is the largest and most complex part of the brain. It consists of the cerebrum the area with all the folds and grooves typically seen in pictures of the brain as well as other structures under it.

The cerebrum contains the information that essentially makes you who you are: your intelligence, memory, personality, emotion, speech, and ability to feel and move. Specific areas of the cerebrum are in charge of processing these different types of information. These are called lobes, and there are four of them: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.

The cerebrum has right and left halves, called hemispheres. They’re connected in the middle by a band of nerve fibers that lets them communicate. These halves may look like mirror images of each other, but many scientists believe they have different functions:

  • The left side is considered the logical, analytical, objective side.
  • The right side is thought to be more intuitive, creative, and subjective.

So when you’re balancing your checkbook, you’re using the left side. When you’re listening to music, you’re using the right side. It’s believed that some people are more “right-brained” or “left-brained” while others are more “whole-brained,” meaning they use both halves of their brain to the same degree.

In the inner part of the forebrain sits the thalamus, hypothalamus, and :

The Midbrain

The Hindbrain

The Cell Structure Of The Brain

What is the Thalamus?

The brain is made up of two types of cells: neurons and glial cells, also known as neuroglia or glia. The neuron is responsible for sending and receiving nerve impulses or signals. Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form myelin and facilitate signal transmission in the nervous system. In the human brain, glial cells outnumber neurons by about 50 to one. Glial cells are the most common cells found in primary brain tumors.

When a person is diagnosed with a brain tumor, a biopsy may be done, in which tissue is removed from the tumor for identification purposes by a pathologist. Pathologists identify the type of cells that are present in this brain tissue, and brain tumors are named based on this association. The type of brain tumor and cells involved impact patient prognosis and treatment.

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Other Related Brain Components

  • Hypothalamus Activity and Hormone Production – while the hypothalamus is only about the size of a pearl, it ‘directs’ a number of important body functions.
  • Epithalamus and Subthalamus – Both the epithalamus and the subthalamus are part of the diencephalon. While the epithalamus aids with our sense of smell and the regulation of sleep and wake cycles, the subthalamus is involved in motor control and movement.
  • Anatomy of the Brain – The anatomy of the brain is very complex since it is the body’s control center.

What Is The Thalamus

Most neurologists refer to the thalamus as the brains relay station. Thats because almost all sensory information must pass through it before moving on to the;cerebral cortex.

These sensory signals travel up the spinal cord and into the thalamus, which lies just above the brainstem. The thalamus then processes these signals and passes them on to the relevant brain region.

Besides signals from sensory systems, other information travels within the brain itself, which the thalamus also plays a role in. At times, the thalamus even assists with cognitive processes as well, such as memory and emotion.

One of the main processes that the thalamus controls is the regulation of consciousness and sleep. In fact, during sleep, the thalamus actually blocks sensory signals from reaching the rest of the brain. This allows a person to sleep without disturbance.

Finally, the thalamus acts as a bridge between the primary motor cortex and the cerebellum and thus plays a crucial role in muscular movement.

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Where Is My Hypothalamus

Computer artwork of a persons head showing the left side of the brain with the hypothalamus highlighted.

The hypothalamus is located on the undersurface of the brain. It lies just below the thalamus and above the pituitary gland, to which it is attached by a stalk. It is an extremely complex part of the brain containing many regions with highly specialised functions. In humans, the hypothalamus is approximately the size of a pea and accounts for less than 1% of the weight of the brain. ;

Brains Sensory Relay Station May Play Unexpected Role In Autism

by Nicholette Zeliadt;/;22 October 2019

Bad connection

Neurons in a brain region called the thalamus may regulate social behavior and play a key role in autism, researchers reported at the 2019 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

The thalamus has long been thought of as a relay station that merely passes sensory information to the cerebral cortex. But researchers are recognizing that one part of it the mediodorsal thalamus is critical for cognition1.

The researchers identified two types of neurons that send signals from the thalamus to the prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in autism. They found that one of these types signals poorly in mice that lack FMR1, the gene mutated in fragile X syndrome.

Theres been so much work done on the prefrontal cortex in autism, but were starting to understand that a lot of what the prefrontal cortex does is orchestrated by the thalamus, says lead investigator Audrey Brumback, assistant professor of neurology and pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Brumback and her colleagues first used a tiny electrode to probe the electrical properties of thalamus neurons in slices from mices brains. They discovered two neuronal responses to the current the electrode transmits.

In mice that lack FMR1, the researchers found that high-sag neurons fire less often than those in controls, but low-sag neurons are unaffected.

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