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Which Cranial Nerve Sends Balance Sensations To The Brain

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Types Of Cranial Nerve Disorders

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Some examples of common disorders that are related to your cranial nerves include:

Trigeminal neuralgia

This condition results from a malfunctioning of the trigeminal cranial nerve. You experience severe facial pain, typically due to an artery’s abnormal positioning that puts pressure on the nerve. It can feel like short bursts of stabbing pain in the lower part of your face.

Bell palsy

You typically experience paralysis or weakness on one side of their face when the facial cranial nerve stops functioning correctly. Bell palsy, or Bells palsy, can be brought on by an immune disorder or a viral infection. You may lose the ability to taste things with the front of your tongue on the side of your face that is affected.

Internuclear ophthalmoplegia

Damage to the lower part of the brain stem can lead to issues with your horizontal eye movement, sometimes leading to double vision. This cranial nerve disorder usually occurs when there is an injury to the fibers connecting the oculomotor nerve, the trochlear nerve, and the abducens nerve. Internuclear ophthalmoplegia often occurs in people whove had a stroke or in younger people with multiple sclerosis.

  • Certain medications

What Conditions And Disorders Affect The Cranial Nerves

Conditions and disorders of the cranial nerves can affect processes that involve vision, smell, hearing, speaking, and balance. They can also change the way you perceive sensation on the face and prevent or alter the movement of the head, eyes, neck, shoulders, throat, and tongue.

Cranial nerve palsy affects a motor nerve one that controls movement.

If a sensory nerve is affected, it can cause pain or reduced sensation.

Conditions and disorders that affect the cranial nerves can include:

Injury, trauma, and whiplash can also cause damage to cranial nerves.

Functions Of Cranial Nerves

Each cranial nerve has a different function related to movement or sense .

  • Sensory neurons are the building blocks of sensory or afferent cranial nerves. A person may be able to hear, smell, or see because of these sensory neurons.
  • Motor or efferent cranial nerves are made of motor neurons and they form the basis of the neck and head movements.

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Treatment Options For Cranial Nerve Schwannomas

Treatment options are usually tailored to the needs of the patient. Options include observation with serial imaging, stereotactic radiation , or surgical resection. A patient’s preferences, age, overall physical health, and the size of the tumor are all factors in determining the treatment modality.

Cranial Nerve 1: Hypoglossal


Major Function: Motor – Somatic Motor to tongue and throat muscles

Lesion: Tongue deviation toward the side of lesion trouble manipulating food with tongue and trouble swallowing.

*Pupillary Light Reflex: The pupil diameter is closely regulated and responds to the amount of light available. The pupil will dilate in a dark environment to allow in more light and constrict in a light environment to restrict the amount of light entering the eye. This dynamic control has two branches. The afferent limb of the reflex is regulated via CN II, which sends action potentials to the control center in the midbrain regarding light intensity. The midbrain then sends signals through the efferent limb of the reflex, which is CN III, to constrict the pupil. Dilation of the pupil is achieved via a sympathetic nerve which is exits the CNS in the spinal chord and is not mediated by a cranial nerve. Clinical Manifestation: When you shine a light into a patient’s left eye the optic nerve should increase signals to the midbrain which will then cause the oculomotor nerve to stimulate the constrictor pupillae muscle to contract, thus constricting the pupil of the left eye. This is referred to as the direct light reflex. In addition to pupil constriction in the left eye, the pupil of the right eye will also constrict, which is known as the consensual light reflex. Any deviation from this pattern represents a pathological condition that would warrant further investigation.

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How Does The Balance System Work

Here, well explore a more detailed explanation of how your brains balance system works.

The Role of the Temporal Lobe

Have you ever flinched upon hearing a loud noise? You have your temporal lobes to thank. The temporal lobes are located in the cerebrum, and they help process audio and visual stimuli. Your temporal lobe has a direct line to the cerebellum by neural pathways, allowing your brain to process stimuli and react quickly by jumping away from a loud sound, for example. This is a major factor in maintaining your overall equilibrium, or sense of balance.

The Role of Semicircular Canals

Try moving your head up and down quickly. Did you recover quickly from the sudden movement? Your semicircular canals, located in your inner ear, helped with that. Your semicircular canals contain a fluid known as endolymph. This fluid moves when you move your head, activating the tiny hairs lining the canal and communicating the direction and speed of movement to your brain.

The Role of the Utricle and Saccule


Understanding which part of the brain controls balance is a key part of treating balance-related issues. The balance system is highly complex fortunately, vestibular experts have a thorough understanding of the system and its unique components.

Positive Influence Of Hypnotherapy Meditation And Yoga In Ibd

An increasing number of studies have shown benefits with relaxation-related treatment of IBD. For example, a randomized controlled trial of a relaxation-training intervention compared to a control group has shown decrease in pain as well as decreased anxiety levels and improvements in quality of life . Also mindfulness-based therapy , a comprehensive mind-body program , meditation , mind-body alternative approaches , yoga , and relaxation response-based mind-body interventions have shown to be beneficial for IBD patients. In addition, hypnotherapy, which increases vagal tone , has been effective in the treatment of IBD .

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How Does The Nervous System Work

The basic workings of the nervous system depend a lot on tiny cells called neurons. The brain has billions of them, and they have many specialized jobs. For example, sensory neurons send information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain. Motor neurons carry messages away from the brain to the rest of the body.

All neurons, however, relay information to each other through a complex electrochemical process, making connections that affect the way we think, learn, move, and behave.

Intelligence, learning, and memory. As we grow and learn, messages travel from one neuron to another over and over, creating connections, or pathways, in the brain. It’s why driving takes so much concentration when someone first learns it, but later is second nature: The pathway became established.

In young children, the brain is highly adaptable. In fact, when one part of a young child’s brain is injured, another part often can learn to take over some of the lost function. But as we age, the brain has to work harder to make new neural pathways, making it harder to master new tasks or change set behavior patterns. That’s why many scientists believe it’s important to keep challenging the brain to learn new things and make new connections it helps keeps the brain active over the course of a lifetime.

The Senses

Smell. Olfactory cells in the mucous membranes lining each nostril react to chemicals we breathe in and send messages along specific nerves to the brain.

What Is The Gray Matter And White Matter

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Gray and white matter are two different regions of the central nervous system. In the brain, gray matter refers to the darker, outer portion, while white matter describes the lighter, inner section underneath. In the spinal cord, this order is reversed: The white matter is on the outside, and the gray matter sits within.

Gray matter is primarily composed of neuron somas , and white matter is mostly made of axons wrapped in myelin . The different composition of neuron parts is why the two appear as separate shades on certain scans.

Each region serves a different role. Gray matter is primarily responsible for processing and interpreting information, while white matter transmits that information to other parts of the nervous system.

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Pathway Of The Vestibulocochlear Nerve

The vestibular and cochlear components of the vestibulocochlear nerve travel as separate nerves through the internal auditory meatus, along with the facial nerve and labyrinthine artery.

They then cross the posterior cranial fossa. It is in the posterior cranial fossa, within the petrous part of the temporal bone, that the cochlear nerve and the vestibular nerve join to form a unified vestibulocochlear nerve.

This unified nerve reaches the lateral surface of the brainstem at the medullopontine angle. At this point, the vestibulocochlear nerve re-divides into vestibular and cochlear branches where they enter the brainstem at the rostral medulla.

Cranial Nerve : Vestibulocochlear

This nerve is composed of fibers from two branches: the vestibular nerve and the cochlear nerve, each with specific functions

Major Function: Sensory – Vestibular branch senses balance. Cochlear branch if for hearing.

Lesion: Vestibular-If only the vestibular branch is damaged it would result in loss of balance and dizziness . Cochlear-If only the cochlear branch is damaged it would result in loss of hearing. If the lesion occurs after the two branches converge then you could have a combination of the above symptoms.

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Vagus Nerve As Modulator Of Intestinal Immune Homeostasis

The gastrointestinal tract is constantly confronted with food antigens, possible pathogens, and symbiotic intestinal microbiota that present a risk factor for intestinal inflammation . It is highly innervated by vagal fibers that connect the CNS with the intestinal immune system, making vagus a major component, the neuroendocrine-immune axis. This axis is involved in coordinated neural, behavioral, and endocrine responses, important for the first-line defense against inflammation . For example, in response to pathogens and other injurious stimuli, tumor-necrosis factor-alpha , a cytokine, is produced by activated macrophages, dendritic cells, and other cells in the mucosa . Together with prostaglandins and interferons, TNF- is an important mediator of local and systemic inflammation and increases cause the cardinal clinical signs of inflammation, including heat, swelling, pain, and redness . Counter-regulatory mechanisms, such as immunologically competent cells and anti-inflammatory cytokines normally limit the acute inflammatory response and prevent the spread of inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream. Further, there is a hard-wired connection between the nervous and immune system functions as an anti-inflammatory mechanism. The dorsal vagal complex, comprising the sensory nuclei of the solitary tract, the area postrema, and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, responds to increased circulating amounts of TNF- by altering motor activity in the vagus nerve .

Lobes Of The Brain And What They Control

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Each brain hemisphere has four sections, called lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Each lobe controls specific functions.

  • Frontal lobe. The largest lobe of the brain, located in the front of the head, the frontal lobe is involved in personality characteristics, decision-making and movement. Recognition of smell usually involves parts of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe contains Brocas area, which is associated with speech ability.
  • Parietal lobe. The middle part of the brain, the parietal lobe helps a person identify objects and understand spatial relationships . The parietal lobe is also involved in interpreting pain and touch in the body. The parietal lobe houses Wernickes area, which helps the brain understand spoken language.
  • Occipital lobe. The occipital lobe is the back part of the brain that is involved with vision.
  • Temporal lobe. The sides of the brain, temporal lobes are involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.

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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.

Basic Anatomy Of The Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve carries an extensive range of signals from digestive system and organs to the brain and vice versa. It is the tenth cranial nerve, extending from its origin in the brainstem through the neck and the thorax down to the abdomen. Because of its long path through the human body, it has also been described as the wanderer nerve .

Figure 1. Overview over the basic anatomy and functions of the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve is responsible for the regulation of internal organ functions, such as digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as vasomotor activity, and certain reflex actions, such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting . Its activation leads to the release of acetylcholine at the synaptic junction with secreting cells, intrinsic nervous fibers, and smooth muscles . ACh binds to nicotinic and muscarinic receptors and stimulates muscle contractions in the parasympathetic nervous system.

Animal studies have demonstrated a remarkable regeneration capacity of the vagus nerve. For example, subdiaphragmatic vagotomy induced transient withdrawal and restoration of central vagal afferents as well as synaptic plasticity in the NTS . Further, the regeneration of vagal afferents in rats can be reached 18 weeks after subdiaphragmatic vagotomy , even though the efferent reinnervation of the gastrointestinal tract is not restored even after 45 weeks .

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Cranial Nerve Iii Oculomotor Nerve

Three separate nerves work together to move the eyes. The first is the oculomotor nerve, which controls all muscles of the eyes except for the oblique and the lateral rectus muscles. It also assists the optic nerve with the pupillary light reflex. Cranial nerve III originates in the midbrain, which is part of the brainstem. Damage to the oculomotor nerve may cause double vision, eyelid drooping, pupil dilation, and an inability to coordinate both eyes.

What Is The Outlook For People With Cranial Nerve Damage

ASMR cranial nerve exam ( roleplay )

An injured nerve may recover with time. In some cases, rehabilitation can be helpful to restore your nerve function. You may receive rehabilitation from professionals including:

  • Audiologist for auditory nerves.
  • Physical or occupational therapist for nerves that control motor function or balance .
  • Speech and language pathologist for face and mouth nerves.
  • Vision therapist for ocular nerves.

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Cranial Nerve : Vagus

Major Function: Motor – Somatic Motor to throat muscles involved in swallowing and speech and Sensory – Taste from posterior tongue. Also, sensory from throat, thoracic and abdominal organs

ANS Innervation: Parasympathetic to thoracic and abdominal organs regulating things such as heart and respiratory rate and gastrointestinal peristalsis etc.

Lesion: Trouble swallowing and hoarse speech uvula deviation away from side of lesion

What Are Cranial Nerves And How Many Are There

Your cranial nerves are pairs of nerves that connect your brain to different parts of your head, neck, and trunk. There are 12 of them, each named for its function or structure.

Their functions are usually categorized as being either sensory or motor. Sensory nerves are involved with your senses, such as smell, hearing, and touch. Motor nerves control the movement and function of muscles or glands.

Keep reading to learn more about each of the 12 cranial nerves and how they function.

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What Are The 12 Cranial Nerves And Their Functions

The 12 cranial nerves and their functions are as follows:

Now that you know a little more about cranial nerves, what they do, and some of the functions they control, you can see how important they are for overall health and well-being. When one of these cranial nerves is damaged or not working properly, it can cause problems with movement, hearing, balance, taste, and other functions. If you experience any problems with any of your cranial nerves, be sure to speak to a doctor. They will be able to help diagnose the problem and provide the necessary treatment.

The Role Of Vagus In The Functions Of The Autonomic Nervous System


Alongside the sympathetic nervous system and the enteric nervous system , the parasympathetic nervous system represents one of the three branches of the autonomic nervous system.

The definition of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems is primarily anatomical. The vagus nerve is the main contributor of the parasympathetic nervous system. Other three parasympathetic cranial nerves are the nervus oculomotorius, the nervus facialis, and the nervus glossopharyngeus.

The most important function of the vagus nerve is afferent, bringing information of the inner organs, such as gut, liver, heart, and lungs to the brain. This suggests that the inner organs are major sources of sensory information to the brain. The gut as the largest surface toward the outer world and might, therefore, be a particularly important sensory organ.

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What Conditions And Disorders Affect Your Cranial Nerves

Some conditions or injuries can damage parts of the brain where cranial nerves are located. In some cases, a condition may damage only one cranial nerve. Trauma or surgery could injure or sever a nerve.

Disorders that affect the cranial nerves include:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis : A progressive disorder where nerve cells break down and muscles weaken.
  • Bells palsy: Sudden muscle weakness and drooping in one half of your face.
  • Hemifacial spasm: Involuntary contractions on one side of your face.
  • Internuclear ophthalmoplegia: Loss of ability to move your eyes in sync when you look to the side.
  • Oculomotor palsy: Damage to your third cranial nerve that causes one of your eyes to stay positioned as though you are looking down and out to the side.
  • Stroke: Interruption to blood supply in your brain because of a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Disruption or damage to brain function, often because of a sudden and violent blow to the head.
  • Trigeminal neuralgia: Chronic pain in your fifth cranial nerve, which runs through your cheek.

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