The Hindbrain And Midbrain

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The Hindbrain And Midbrain

  1. 1. The Hindbrain and Midbrain
  2. 2.  The central nervous system is divided into three sections: hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. We will discuss the hindbrain and midbrain and their structures in this section, and we will discuss the forebrain in the next section.
  3. 3. Picture showing the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. In the small drawings at the bottom, the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain areas are shown in orange.
  4. 4.  The hindbrain is at the back of the brain. The structures in the hindbrain include the medulla, the pons, and the cerebellum.  The medulla is a very important structure just above the spinal cord. It controls vital reflexes such as breathing, heart rate, vomiting, salivation, coughing and sneezing. It accomplishes this through the cranial nerves. The cranial nerves control feelings from the head, muscle movements in the head, and a lot of the parasympathetic output to the organs, Some cranial nerves have both sensory and motor components. If the medulla is damaged, people very often die.
  5. 5.  The pons has many axons that cross from one side of the brain to the other, and it also contains neurons from the cranial nerves. Because of this crossing over, the left side of the brain controls muscles on the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls muscles on the left side of the body.
  6. 6.  The cerebellum is important for movement, for balance, and for coordination. The cerebellum has many other important functions, including controlling the ability to shift attention between sound and sight stimuli. It also is associated with timing, so that a person who has damage to the cerebellum would not be able to judge if one rhythm is faster than another.
  7. 7.  The midbrain is right in the middle of the brain. The structures in the midbrain include the superior colliculus, the inferior colliculus, the tectum, and the substantia nigra,  The superior colliculus and the inferior colliculus are both important routes of sensory information to the brain.  The tectum is the roof of the midbrain.  The substantia nigra has the dopamine pathways. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter important for such things as eating regulation, depression, and addictive behavior. The substantia nigra pathways break down in people with Parkinson’s disease.

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