What Does The Brain Do
The brain controls what you think and feel, how you learn and remember, and the way you move and talk. But it also controls things you’re less aware of like the beating of your heart and the digestion of your food.
Think of the brain as a central computer that controls all the body’s functions. The rest of the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body. It does this via the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down through the back. It contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.
When a message comes into the brain from anywhere in the body, the brain tells the body how to react. For example, if you touch a hot stove, the nerves in your skin shoot a message of pain to your brain. The brain then sends a message back telling the muscles in your hand to pull away. Luckily, this neurological relay race happens in an instant.
Right Brain Left Brain
The cerebrum is divided into two halves: the right and left hemispheres They are joined by a bundle of fibers called the corpus callosum that transmits messages from one side to the other. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body. If a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, your left arm or leg may be weak or paralyzed.
Not all functions of the hemispheres are shared. In general, the left hemisphere controls speech, comprehension, arithmetic, and writing. The right hemisphere controls creativity, spatial ability, artistic, and musical skills. The left hemisphere is dominant in hand use and language in about 92% of people.
The Part Of The Brain Controlling: Balance And Posture
As we mentioned earlier, the cerebellum does not work alone. It controls your equilibrium by combining sensory information from the outside world.
Those pieces of information come from the eyes , ears , and your bodys muscles and joints . After the information is sent to the cerebellum, it processes it and relays the information back to your body instructing it on how to stay balanced during a specific movement.
For example, Consider standing on one foot. Your joints and muscles use receptors, called proprioceptors, to gather information about the spacial position of your body.
These receptors then send the information back to the cerebellum adjusting your position by making you shift body weight, or even stretching your arms out to help maintain your balance.
Now, continue standing on one foot but close your eyes. It is much more difficult to stay in that position, isnt it?
This is because you have limited the information coming to the cerebellum. Its now unable to use visual information from the eyes and has lost a little of the spatial orientation.
Usually, we are not aware of these processes they happen reflexively. But we often become aware of them when we exercise especially exercise that involves a high degree of coordination.
Take the example of a ballerina doing a pirouette on one leg. She has to learn how to use her surroundings in order to perform the movement without losing balance. And thats no easy feat!
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Where Is It Located
The cerebellum is the largest structure of the hindbrain and can be found in the back portion of the skull below the temporal and occipital lobes and behind the brainstem.
When looking at the brain, the cerebellum looks much like a smaller structure separate from the brain, found beneath the hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. The cerebellum consists of a cortex covering white matter, as well as a ventricle filled with fluid. It is also divided into two hemispheres like the cerebral cortex.
There are two main parts of the cerebellum:
- Cerebellar cortex: A layer containing folded tissue containing most of the cerebellum’s neurons
- Cerebellar nuclei: The innermost part of the cerebellum containing nerve cells that communication information from the cerebellum
The cerebellum makes up just 10% of the total volume of the brain, yet it contains an estimated 50% to 80% of the brain’s neurons.
The Brainstem: Middle Of The Brain
The brainstem is located in front of the cerebellum. Think of the brainstem like a computer hard-drive. It is the bodys main control panel and is responsible for conveying messages between the brain and other parts of the body. The cerebrum, the cerebellum and the spinal cord are all connected to the brainstem. The brainstem has three main parts: the midbrain, the pons and the medulla oblongata.
The brain stem controls these vital body functions:
- Sensory relay
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What Are The Parts Of The Nervous System
The nervous system is made up of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system:
- The brain and the spinal cord are the central nervous system.
- The nerves that go through the whole body make up the peripheral nervous system.
The human brain is incredibly compact, weighing just 3 pounds. It has many folds and grooves, though. These give it the added surface area needed for storing the body’s important information.
The spinal cord is a long bundle of nerve tissue about 18 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. It extends from the lower part of the brain down through spine. Along the way, nerves branch out to the entire body.
The brain and the spinal cord are protected by bone: the brain by the bones of the skull, and the spinal cord by a set of ring-shaped bones called vertebrae. They’re both cushioned by layers of membranes called meninges and a special fluid called cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid helps protect the nerve tissue, keep it healthy, and remove waste products.
Other Key Parts Of The Brain
Ventricular SystemThe brain is not a solid organ. Instead, there are fluid-filled cavities within the brain called ventricles. The ventricles provide nourishment to the brain. The ventricular system produces and processes cerebrospinal fluid, a clear, watery substance flowing around the brain to cushion and protect it.
Cranial NervesThe brain also contains 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Each is responsible for specific body functions.
- Olfactory nerve: Sense of smell
- Optic nerve: Vision
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Ataxia Caused By Toxins
The cerebellum is vulnerable to poisons, including alcohol and certain prescription medications.
These poisons damage nerve cells in the cerebellum, leading to ataxia.
The following toxins might cause ataxia:
- drugs, especially barbiturates and benzodiazepines
- heavy metals, including mercury and lead
- solvents, such as paint thinners
Treatment and expected recovery time depend on the toxin involved and the extent of brain damage.
The Cerebellum And Motor Coordination
Old ideas about the role of the cerebellum as the focal point for muscle activation have not been disproved.
Today it is still considered that this structure has a leading role in the coordination of movements, maintenance of balance and monitoring of neuronal signals aimed at activating muscles.
As the cerebellum is connected to many areas of the brain, it crosses the motor information elaborated in the higher regions of the brain with the more concrete and operational motor information aimed at activating muscle fibers, and checks that there are no inconsistencies between the two.
In addition, there is a debate generated around the possibility that one of the functions of the cerebellum is motor learning, that is, the ability to refine a pattern of movements so that it is perfected more and more.
The cerebellum has connections with different parts of the central nervous system, thanks to which it carries out multiple functions:
In the different connections of the cerebellum with the other areas, it almost always acts as a regulator. It records information and regulates the movements of different parts of the body, depending on the structure to which it is connected. Functions such as maintaining balance or learning a movement could be difficult if these pathways are broken.
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In What Regions Is The Motor Cortex Divided
The motor cortex integrates various areas, through which movement is possible. Lets look at them:
- Primary motor cortex. It is the main area that is responsible for generating the nerve impulses that are needed for the production of voluntary movement. In addition, it is responsible for sending orders to the voluntary muscles of the body. In this way, they contract or tighten. It is a region with a low excitation threshold.
- Supplementary motor area. It consists of an area that coordinates the movements of the postures. Thus, the sequence of movements in large muscle groups collaborates.
- Premotor areas. They are areas with a high threshold of excitation. In addition, it is responsible for storing movements that come from past experiences.
Thus, it coordinates and at the same time programs the sequence of movements and the activity of the primary motor cortex. It is located in front of the primary motor cortex and close to Sylvian fissure. It is also related to the movements required for speech.
How Does The Corpus Callosum Affect Memory
The results showed that partial infarction of the callosum may be related to verbal and visual memory impairment, dysfunction executive abilities, and, in particular, the significant impairment of procedural learning ability. We expected that there were similar dysfunctions related to the corpus callosum infarction.
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The Part Of The Brain Controlling: Balance And Hearing
The processing of sound happens in the temporal lobes which are a part of the cerebrum. The audio stimuli come through the ear and go directly into the primary auditory cortex located in the temporal lobes.
But how does the temporal lobe affect balance?
Have you ever heard a loud noise and reflexively found yourself moving away from the source of the noise?
Thats the temporal lobe at work. Your temporal lobe is directly connected to the cerebellum by neural pathways. This connection enables a quick reaction to loud noise.
The Functions Of The Cerebellum
Thus, it was considered that the task of the cerebellum was, basically, to make it possible for us to maintain balance, for us to coordinate simple and complex movements and, in general, for the muscles of our body to respond faithfully and effectively to the orders issued by the brain.
For example, one of the main symptoms of changes in the cerebellum was considered to be loss of balance after drinking too much alcohol.
However, in recent years it has been discovered that the idea that the role of the cerebellum has to do with motor coordination is too simplistic. Thus, the cerebellum is not only involved in motor processes, but also plays an important role in many other functions.
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Other Important Parts Of The Brain
Ventricular system The brain is not a solid organ. There are fluid-filled cavities within the brain called ventricles. The ventricles are important in providing nourishment to the brain. The ventricular system produces and processes cerebrospinal fluid a clear, watery substance that flows around the brain and helps cushion and protect it.
Cranial nervesThe brain also contains 12 pairs of cranial nerves each responsible for specific functions in the body:
- Olfactory nerve smell
Where Is The Supplementary Motor Cortex Located In The Brain
In our example, the premotor cortex would help to orient the body before reaching for the glass of water. The supplementary motor area lies above, or medial to, the premotor area, also in front of the primary motor cortex. It is involved in the planning of complex movements and in coordinating two-handed movements.
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The Cell Structure Of The Brain
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.
Related Problems And Disorders
As we have indicated previously, the motor cortex is a very important brain region when it comes to being able to carry out practically any action. That is why an injury to these brain areas can have severe repercussions on the lives of patients.
One of the problems that the injury or destruction of the cortex or motor area can generate is paralysis and loss of mobility, whether in a specific part of the body, in a half body or in the whole body.
Hemiplegia or tetraplegia may appear. If the injury is only in one hemisphere, the paralysis will occur contralaterally: that is, if the right motor cortex is injured, the left hand will be paralyzed.
With regard to secondary motor areas, the effects of injury to them often alter the ability to perform movements in a coordinated and sequential manner. We are talking about the emergence of possible apraxias, or aphasias or dysarthria when we refer to problems in the production of the movements necessary to communicate.
Agrafia can also occur, as the movements necessary to write cannot be carried out correctly, eating problems or even visual problems due to the lack of proper regulation of the movement of the facial organs and muscles.
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The Cerebrum: Front Part Of The Brain
The largest part of the brain, located in the front, is called the cerebrum. The cerebrum is responsible for:
The cerebrum is made up of the right and left cerebral hemispheres. The hemispheres are connected at the bottom and have a deep groove running between them. In general, the right cerebral hemisphere controls the left side of the body, and the left cerebral hemisphere controls the right. The right side is involved with creativity and artistic abilities. The left side is important for logic and rational thinking.
The cerebral hemispheres are divided into lobes . Each lobe is responsible for a variety of bodily functions. Frontal lobes are involved with personality, speech, and motor development. Temporal lobes are responsible for memory, language and speech function. Parietal lobes are involved with sensation, while the occipital lobes are the primary vision centers.
The surface of the cerebrum appears wrinkled and is made up of deep grooves and bumps or folds . The outer part of the cerebrum is called gray matter and contains nerve cells. The inner part is called white matter and contains connections of nerves.
Conditions That Affect The Cerebellum
When your cerebellum is damaged, nerve cells break down and die and can cause the following:
- Ataxia: The loss of control of voluntary movement
- Cognitive impairment: A reduction in conscious mental activities, including thinking, learning, memory, and concentration
- Dystonia: Involuntary contraction of muscles that normally work in cooperation so that a body part is held in an unusual and often painful position as a result
- Tremors: Involuntary, rhythmic contraction of muscles that can lead to shaking movements in the hands, legs, face, head, or vocal cords
- Unsteady gait: Walking unsteadily or clumsily
- Vertigo:The dizziness sensation of spinning, swaying, or tilting, which is frequently associated with balance problems and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache, or hearing loss
In addition, researchers are studying the link between cerebellum dysfunction and the following:
- Anxiety disorders: A category of disorders including panic disorder and social anxiety disorder that are marked by excessive or irrational anxiety or fear that is disproportionate to the actual threat
- Autism spectrum disorder: A developmental condition that causes impairments in social interactions and communication
- Dyslexia: A disorder that makes it difficult to process speech and results in problems with reading, writing, and spelling
- Schizophrenia: A psychotic disorder characterized by distorted perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that are not connected to reality
Of The Brain That Controls Muscle Movement
Thanks to our brain we can plan, eat, run and even smile. It is through the complex but fascinating functions of the cerebral motor cortex that we carry out various actions on a daily basis. It is a part of our brain that helps us control, execute, and plan movement.
In addition, it allows us to react to stimuli, which is essential for our survival. But this part of our brain does not act alone. These movements can happen thanks to the various connections and association with other areas of our body.
Through the article we will talk about the Part of the brain that controls muscle movement, we will see: what is its location and what are its structures and functions. In addition to associated pathologies when there is an injury or when it does not work properly. Lets explore the motor cortex, also called the motor cortex.
Coordinating The Body’s Voluntary Movements
Movement is a complex process that requires a number of different muscle groups working together. Consider how many muscle groups are involved in the process of walking, running, or throwing a ball.
While the cerebellum is not thought to initiate movement, this part of the brain helps organize all of the actions of the muscle groups involved in a particular movement to ensure that the body is able to produce a fluid, coordinated movement. This includes eye movements and movements associated with speaking.
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