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:
Personality, behavior, emotions
Judgment, planning, problem solving
Speech: speaking and writing (Broca’s area)
Body movement (motor strip)
Intelligence, concentration, self awareness
Interprets language, words
Sense of touch, pain, temperature (sensory strip)
Interprets signals from vision, hearing, motor, sensory and memory
Spatial and visual perception
Interprets vision (color, light, movement)
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
regulating body temperature
controlling the producing and release of hormones
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:
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:
Each pair connects the spinal cord with a specific region of the body.