Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What Part Of The Brain Is The Thalamus In

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What Are The Major Functions Of The Limbic System

The Thalamus

The limbic system is a part of the brain that deals with three major functions:

  • Emotions

The limbic system comprises several parts.

Limbic lobe

It is the first significant lobe of the limbic system. The two parts of this region include:

  • Cingulate gyrus: It regulates both autonomic and conscious function. Its functions include:
  • An increase in heart rate during a threat in the environment.
  • Taking voluntary choices, such as the decision to react to a threat by fighting or running away.
  • Parahippocampal gyrus: It deals with spatial memory or memory. It has a role in dealing with location and navigation to reach a specific place.
  • Thalamus

    The key function of the thalamus involves detecting and transmitting senses, such as sight, sound, taste, and touch. It organizes the information and sends it to the areas in the brain where the suitable response would be elicited. The thalamus also has a role in pain perception. So, any kind of pain, physical or emotional, is processed here.


    It is the vital portion of the limbic system. Hypothalamus is responsible for producing various hormones required by the body. It also has various stations, which control the following functions:

    • Controlling water levels in the body

    They are two almond-shaped structures present in the limbic system. Amygdala is responsible for:


    The hippocampus is a horn-shaped structure present in the limbic system. The central function of the hippocampus is to:

    Basal ganglia

    • Reward processing

    What Is The Thalamus

    As Ive mentioned, the thalamus is a part of the brain segment called the diencephalon, located between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It serves as a bridge between the two, therefore it is closely connected to both.

    It transmits signals between the midbrain and the cerebral cortex, but it also regulates sleep, alertness and wakefulness. When looking at the cross-section of the human brain, the thalamus can be found almost at the very center of the brain, between the frontal lobe and the brain stem.

    It consists of two bulbs, each about 6cm in length, one on each hemisphere of the brain. Since its located so close to the center, where the nerves go out in all directions towards the periphery of the brain, it has the optimal spot for the purpose that it fulfills .

    Its blood flow is facilitated through four branches of the posterior cerebral artery, allowing it just enough oxygen to function. Distinct segments of the thalamus have been discovered, such as the isothalamus or allothalamus, but they vary only slightly in structure and function, and therefore wont be discussed in further detail.

    The distinctive characteristics of the thalamus are:

    • Part of the diencephalon, located between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain, near the center of the brain
    • Transfers information between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain
    • Regulates sleep, alertness and wakefulness
    • Consists of two bulbs on each hemisphere, each around 6cm in length

    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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    Embryonic Patterning Of The Innate Limbic System And Potential Link To Behavior

    Since innate behaviors are established without prior experience, the regulatory circuitry must be established during embryonic or early post-natal stages of neurodevelopment, likely through a series of hierarchical stages of genetic programming. Below we review our current knowledge of innate limbic system development, and present a novel model in which innate behaviors are generated by a coordination of genetic expression events and environmental cues.

    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.

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    The Mediodorsal Thalamus Functioning In Cognitive Processes

    Emerging perspectives on the thalamus and its functions have highlighted its role in modulating cortico-cortical information transfer, and suggest that higher-order thalamic nuclei may be instrumental in relaying copies of efferent motor commands from one cortical region to another, via their respective transthalamic routes . For a recent review of the role of the pulvinar in supporting visual attention processes across the cortex, see Halassa and Kastner . One major source of difference between the influence of the MD on the cortex, compared with that of the pulvinar, is the distribution of thalamocortical projections from these two thalamic structures. As indicated above, the different subdivisions of the MD send axons to several areas within the frontal lobes and insular cortex. In contrast, the projections of the pulvinar are more widespread, targeting visual, parietal, and temporal lobes, in addition to the frontal and insular cortex . Thus, whilst we cannot draw strong conclusions from the thalamocortical connectivity alone, these observations provide a broad indication of the differing roles that the MD and pulvinar may play.

    Here we will consider some of the evidence from the visual and sensorimotor systems, on which these proposals are based, and then extend these ideas to consider how the MD may also support cognitive operations attributed to the PFC.

    Miscellaneous Functions Of The Thalamus

    The thalamus, due to its many neuronal connections to parts of the limbic, endocrine, and nervous system, is also involved in many more bodily functions than emotions and sensory information. It is also a part of what gives us consciousness. Specifically, the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuit is integral to arousal, the physiology of being awake, alertness, and activity.

    In fact, attention and focus disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder are specifically attributed to damage or physiological malfunctions of this circuit due to its role in regulating task-dependent activities during a state of rest. Additionally, it is central to the process of impulse inhibition. So damage to this pathway manifests in attention deficit disorder as well.

    It is also hypothesized that the thalamus is not only limited to information gathered during consciousness but that it has access to the regulation and storage of information gathered during unconsciousness as well. Interpretation of this information, however, is limited to a conscious state. You can almost think of this as your awareness of your dreams during deep sleep.

    Your thalamus has stored information outside of your consciousness, and, despite your thalamus remembering this information, youre not quite able to recall it on your own or when youre awake.

    This is why youre able to sleep through the sounds of rain and maybe even a particular TV show but wake to the sound of your alarm .

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    What Are The Parts And Functions Of The Limbic System

    limbic systemrole

    What are the main functions of the limbic system?

    The limbic system is a set of structures in the brain that controls emotion, memories and arousal. It contains regions that detect fear, control bodily functions and perceive sensory information .

    what are the functions of the different parts of the brain?brainpartsbrainfunctions

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    Essential Oils And The Limbic System

    Thalamus â Diencephalon | Lecturio

    The limbic system gathers information from the environment through sensory information. As youve experienced firsthand many times, your senses can alter your emotional state rapidly. For example, a pleasurable meal can make you feel comforted, and very loud noises can make you feel anxious.

    Ever wonder why certain smells conjure up memories and even physical feelings so vividly? Our sense of smell is unique compared to our other senses because it bypasses parts of the brain that other types of sensory information often cannot. Because of this, smells can often cause immediate and strong emotional reactions based on memories. Smells can bring us back to past events within milliseconds, making us feel a certain way based on past events, whether we realize why were suddenly feeling that way or not.

    Essential oils, for example, can have dramatic effects on limbic function and how you feel. This is true because the strong fragrances they hold, which are found inside volatile molecules that can make their way into your bloodstream, travel directly through the blood/brain barrier very quickly.

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    Functions Of The Thalamus

    The thalamus has numerous connections to many, many parts of the brain and so has several different functions. It is considered to be an organ of the limbic system in addition to its part in the central nervous system , as it connects specific portions of the cerebral cortex to parts of the brain and spinal cord which control the processing of sensory information and movement.

    Specifically, the thalamus works to send neuronal transmissions to the brain for the regulation of the Circadian rhythm in order to suppress the bodys response to sensation such as sound during sleep.

    Summary And Future Directions

    Given that the neural networks themselves are somehow disrupted in neurodevelopmental disorders, that pathological changes in the dorsal thalamus may be part of altered processes that are taking place throughout the entire network, that neuroimaging has indicated co-occurring changes are seen throughout the reciprocal loop connecting the thalamic relay nuclei with the major cortical multimodal association areas, and critically, that behavioral and cognitive performance is altered as a consequence of subtle manipulations to the MD in animals, it is now, more than ever, relevant to re-evaluate the roles of different subdivisions of the dorsal thalamus in cognitive functions, cognitive control, and neuropsychiatric diseases.

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    Other Tasks Of Thalamus And The Hypothalamus

    Although both thalamus and hypothalamus serve as bridges, they connect different pairs of things. While the thalamus connects the cerebral cortex with the midbrain, the hypothalamus connects the nervous system in general with the endocrine system. This makes another distinction between the two the thalamus is a part of only the nervous system, while the hypothalamus can be regarded as both part of the nervous and endocrine system, since it plays an important role in both.

    Control Centres For Making Sense Of Our Bodies

    H.P.P.D. Research: Thalamus Linked To HPPD

    Apart from the cerebrum, the forebrain also contains several small, but highly important structures located towards the centre of the brain and are included in the limbic system. Collectively these are called the diencephalon and they are involved in regulating things like the bodys sensory perception, motor functions, and hormones.

    The thalamus consists of two lobes of grey matter tucked away right under the cerebral cortex. It is a prime processing centre for sensory information, as it links up the relevant parts of the cerebral cortex with the spinal cord and other areas of the brain important for our senses. The thalamus also controls sleep.

    The hypothalamus is quite small, only about the size of an almond. As its name suggests, it can be found right underneath the thalamus, and despite its small size it is actually the major control centre of the autonomic motor system. It is involved in some hormonal activity and connects the hormonal and nervous systems. The hypothalamus also works to regulate things like our blood pressure, body temperature, and overall homeostasis.

    The pineal gland is even smaller than the hypothalamus – only about the length of a grain of rice – and is tucked between the two lobes of the thalamus. It is actually shaped like a tiny pinecone, and its main job is to produce the hormone melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Just like the hypothalamus, it is also involved in regulating hormonal functions.

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    Functions Of Thalamus In The Brain:

    Though making an insignificant contribution to the overall brain mass, the thalamus plays an important role in getting an understanding of the world around.

    The latest research refutes the previous belief about the thalamus that it only passively relays the sensory information to the cortex.

    This part of the brain has now been acknowledged as actively regulating the information that it transmits to the cortical areas.

    Below are some of the main functions of thalamus in the brain:

    Physical Therapy And Rehabilitation

    Your doctor will likely recommend rehabilitation, usually within a day or two of having a stroke. The goal is to relearn skills that you might have lost during the stroke. Roughly two-thirds of people who have a stroke require some level of rehabilitation or physical therapy.

    The type of rehabilitation youll need depends on the exact location and severity of your stroke. Common types include:

    • physical therapy to compensate for any physical disabilities, such as not being able to use one of your hands, or to rebuild strength in stroke-damaged limbs
    • occupational therapy to help you perform everyday tasks more easily
    • speech therapy to help you regain lost speech abilities
    • cognitive therapy to help with memory loss
    • counseling or joining a support group to help you adapt to any new changes and connect with others in a similar situation

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    Difference Between Thalamus And Hypothalamus

    Categorized under Health,Science | Difference Between Thalamus and Hypothalamus

    Thalamus and hypothalamus are both parts of the brain. Along with the epithalamus and perithalamus, they are both located in the region of the brain called the diencephalon.

    Even though they have very similar names, which might make some people think they are similar, its actually the opposite they vary significantly in both size and function, as will be discussed in more detail below. The only reason they have such similar names is their location. Hypo means under in Greek, and the hypothalamus is in fact located right beneath the thalamus, hence the name.

    The thalamus function is to transfer the information it collects from other parts of the brain to the part called the cerebral cortex, which is the segment of the brain closest to the surface, consisting of gray matter, that then analyzes the information and sends instructions back.

    On the other hand, the hypothalamus has a very close connection to the pituitary gland that is located near it. The pituitary gland can be considered the most important gland in the human body, since it sends hormones to all the other glands indicating when they should start or stop secreting other hormones.

    Is The Thalamus Part Of The Brain Stem

    The Functional Anatomy of the Thalamus

    brain stembrain stempart of the brainhypothalamusthalamus

    . Herein, what are the parts of the brain stem?

    The brain stem controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and it also controls basic body functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, and whether one is awake or sleepy. The brain stem consists of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata.

    Secondly, what are the 3 parts of the brainstem and their functions? Brainstem. The brainstem is the distal part of the brain that is made up of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. Each of the three components has its own unique structure and function. Together, they help to regulate breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and several other important functions.

    Accordingly, is the cerebellum part of the brain stem?

    The cerebellum is located behind the top part of the brain stem and is made of two hemispheres . The cerebellum receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements.

    What does the left thalamus do?

    The thalamus is a structure at the center of each cerebral hemisphere and is a relay for sensory pathways, and for brain stem, cerebellar, and subcortical pathways to cortex. The thalamus also serves as a relay between cortical structures.

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    Face And Body Sensory Information

    The ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus is responsible for receiving sensory information for certain areas of the face.

    It also regulates the sensation of taste, receiving neuronal signals from many different parts of the gustatory system.

    The ventral posterolateral nucleus of the thalamus is responsible for receiving and transmitting sensory information from the body.

    This sensory information is sent up the spinothalamic tract, which is a nerve pathway that extends up from the spinal cord to the thalamus. Sensory information regarding temperature, pain, itching, and touch is sent up and down this tract.

    Specifically, the sensations of touch and pressure are sent up the anterior, or ventral, spinothalamic tract, and the lateral spinothalamic tract carries information about pain and temperature.

    Evidence Of Upcoming Response Changes After Mdmc Damageprimates

    In cognitive and behavioral studies in monkeys, subtle but key deficits emerge after selective damage to the magnocellular subdivision of the mediodorsal thalamus . Work in the Mitchell lab over the past decade has established the importance of an intact MDmc in cognitive tasks that require the monkeys to rapidly process trial relevant task information when involved in new learning or adaptive decision-making . In contrast, an intact MDmc was not required when the monkeys needed to retrieve pre-operatively acquired information, or when they needed to implement a different response strategy for reward, or for maintenance of working memory, attention or motivation to complete the task per se .

    Table 1. Cognitive and behavioral effects after selective lesions to the mediodorsal thalamus in non-human primates .

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