Facts about brain and spinal cord that you must know.






Brain and spinal cord

Brain and spinal cord are an integral part of our body that helps in proper functioning.Following are the major parts of the human brain:

1. Forebrain: It is the anterior part of the brain. The forebrain parts include:




 Forebrain Function: Controls the reproductive functions, body 

temperature, emotions, hunger and sleep.

 Fact: The largest among the forebrain parts is the cerebrum. It is also the 

largest part of all vertebrate brains.


Hindbrain: It is the central region of the brain and is composed of:





The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It’s divided into two halves, called hemispheres.Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into broad regions called lobes. Each lobe is 

associated with different functions:

Frontal lobe

 Personality, behavior, emotions

 Judgment, planning, problem solving

 Speech: speaking and writing (Broca’s area)

 Body movement (motor strip)

 Intelligence, concentration, self awareness

Parietal lobe

 Interprets language, words

 Sense of touch, pain, temperature (sensory strip)

 Interprets signals from vision, hearing, motor, sensory and memory

 Spatial and visual perception

Occipital lobe

 Interprets vision (color, light, movement)

Temporal lobe

 Understanding language (Wernicke’s area)



 Sequencing and organization


The cerebellum is located in the back of the brain, just below the occipital lobes. It’s 

involved with fine motor skills, which refers to the coordination of smaller, or finer, movements, 

especially those involving the hands and feet. It also helps the body maintain its posture, 

equilibrium, and balance.


The thalamus acts as a kind of relay station for signals coming into the brain. It’s also involved 

in consciousness, sleep, and memory.

The limbic system is a part of the brain that’s involved with emotion, long-term memory, and 



The hypothalamus helps maintain homeostasis. This refers to the balance of all bodily functions.

maintaining daily physiological cycles, such as the sleep-wake cycle

 controlling appetite

 regulating body temperature

 controlling the producing and release of hormones

Brain stem

The brainstem is located in front of the cerebellum and connects to the spinal cord. It consists of 

three major parts:

 Midbrain. The midbrain helps control eye movement and processes visual and auditory 


 Pons. This is the largest part of the brain stem. It’s located below the midbrain. It’s a 

group of nerves that help connect different parts of the brain. The pons also contains the 

start of some of the cranial nerves. These nerves are involved in facial movements and 

transmitting sensory information.

 Medulla oblongata. The medulla oblongata is the lowest part of the brain. It acts as the 

control center for the function of the heart and lungs. It helps regulate many important 

functions, including breathing, sneezing, and swallowing.



 The spinal cord is a long cylinder of nerves that runs from the base of your brain through 

the vertebral canal through the backbone. It is part of the central nervous system 

(CNS) along with the brain.

 The spinal cord is about 45 cm in length and 2 cm in diameter in adults, and is involved 

e spinal cord exits through a large hole in the base of the skull and is enclosed by the 

protective vertebral column. Pairs of nerves known as spinal nerves emerge from the spaces 

between the bony arches of the vertebrae. These spinal nerves are named according to what 

section of the vertebral column they come from. These regions are:

 Cervical (neck)

 Thoracic (chest)

 Lumbar (abdominal)

 Sacral (pelvic)

 Coccygeal (tailbone)

Functions of the spinal cord

 Electrical communication: Electrical signals are conducted up and down the cord, 

allowing communication between different sections of the body and with the brain, since 

the cord runs through different levels of the trunk section.

 Walking (also known as locomotion): During walking, several muscle groups in the 

legs are coordinated to contract over and over again. These neurons send signals to the 

muscles in the legs, causing to the relaxation or contraction, producing the alternating 

movements that are involved in walking.

 Reflexes. These are predictable involuntary responses to stimuli that involve the brain, 

spinal cord and nerves of the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Function of Cranial Nerve

Cranial nerves are responsible for the control a number of functions in the body are listed below.

1. Olfactory Nerve: Sense of smell

2. Optic Nerve: Vision

3. Oculomotor Nerve: Eyeball and eyelid movement

4. Trochlear Nerve: Eye movement

5. Trigeminal Nerve: This is the largest cranial nerve and is divided into three branches 

consisting of the ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular nerves. Functions controlled 

include facial sensation and chewing.

6. Abducens Nerve: Eye movement

7. Facial Nerve: Facial expressions and sense of taste

8. Vestibulocochlear Nerve: Equilibrium and hearing

9. Glossopharyngeal Nerve: Swallowing, sense of taste, and saliva secretion

10. Vagus Nerve: Smooth muscle sensory and motor control in throat, lungs, heart, 

and digestive system

11. Accessory Nerve: Movement of neck and shoulders

12. Hypoglossal Nerve: Movement of tongue, swallowing, and speech


Spinal nerve, in vertebrates, any one of many paired peripheral nerves that arise from the spinal 

cord. In humans there are 31 pairs: 

 8 cervical

 12 thoracic

 5 lumbar

 5 sacral

 1 coccygeal.

Each pair connects the spinal cord with a specific region of the body.

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