The brain has many different parts that affect both our mental and physical health. Let’s review the human brain and how it influences our thoughts and behavior.
Basic Brain Overview
Each region of the human brain has particular functions. The three main parts of the brain include the:
Cerebrum: Located at the front of the brain, the cerebrum has many responsibilities. It helps coordinate movement and regulate body temperature. The cerebrum also serves a role in the senses, including vision and hearing. It is also involved in more advanced functions like speech, reasoning, problem-solving, emotions, and learning.
Cerebellum: Located in the back of the brain, the cerebellum helps coordinate voluntary movements and to maintain the body’s equilibrium in space. Researchers are also looking into this region’s involvement in emotions and social behavior, including mental illnesses.
Brainstem: Located at the lower part of the brain, the brainstem connects the cerebrum with the spinal cord. Its many functions include reflexes, involuntary functions like heart rate and breathing, and movement and coordination.
These regions of the brain can be further divided into smaller, more specific parts.
Parts of the Cerebrum
Within the cerebrum are four main parts:
Frontal lobe: This lobe is located at the front of the cerebrum. It affects personality, decision-making, and movement, and also plays a role in smell and speech.
Parietal lobe: In the middle of the brain, this lobe helps identify objects and spatial relationships, and is involved in interpreting touch, including pain. It also includes Wernicke’s area, which helps in understanding spoken language.
Occipital lobe: This lobe, located in the back of the brain, is crucial for vision.
Temporal lobe: Located at both sides (hemispheres) of the brain, this lobe plays a role in memory, language recognition, and understanding music.
Parts of the Cerebellum
The cerebellum includes three main sections:
Flocculonodular lobe: This is the smallest region of the cerebellum, and is involved in balance and the body’s orientation in space.
Anterior lobe: This part also helps manage the body’s orientation and movement, and receives input mainly from the spinal cord.
Posterior lobe: The largest part of the cerebellum, this lobe is involved in fine motor coordination, using input mainly from the brainstem and cerebral cortex.
Parts of the Brainstem
There are also three main sections to the brainstem:
Midbrain: This part of the brainstem is located toward the front of the brainstem. It is involved in vision, hearing, motor and temperature control, and the body’s sleep/wake cycle and alertness.
Pons: This section has many responsibilities, including involuntary functions like breathing and bladder control. It helps send signals from the forebrain to the cerebellum. It is also involved in facial sensations and movement, such as pain, eye movement, swallowing, and saliva secretion.
Medulla: Also known as the medulla oblongata, this part is essential to survival. It helps regulate many automatic functions, such as heart and lung functions, as well as reflexive responses like vomiting and sneezing.
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