Introduction to the Basic Parts of the Human Brain

Lateral-view-of-the-brainThe three-pound, most complex organ of the human body is the controller of our behavior, intellectual, interpreter, senses and our motor skills. The brain, silently located in its strong bony shell and protected by fluid is the determinant of what defines us as humans.

Long ago, scientists and philosophers have been studying about how the brain works but still could not comprehend the mystery of its full function. However as for today, scientists have slowly uncovered its secrets and behavior for all mankind to see. This is just an introduction to the human brain in order for you to understand how the brain works and keeping these elements in the brain and nerve cells stable are important to healthy brain function.

THE CEREBRUM

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and it comprises of tools which are connected to the brain’s function. The cerebrum is divided into four parts: the temporal lobe, the occipital lobe, parietal lobe and frontal lobe. If you observe the cerebrum properly, it has two parts which is the right and left hemisphere these are linked by axons to send messages from each other. The nerve cells in the cerebrum also carry signals between organs and the nerve throughout the body. Let’s have quick information about the parts of the cerebrum:

  • Frontal lobe – this lobe is responsible for several features such as the creative thoughts, problem solving, mental power, decision, behavior, thoughtfulness, theoretical thinking, physical response, muscle movement, synchronized movements, smell and personality.
  • Parietal lobe – this lobe is responsible for comprehension. It is more on visual function, language, reading, internal stimuli, tactile sensation and sensory comprehension.
  • Temporal lobe – this lobe panels visual and auditory memories. It also includes speech and hearing abilities, behavioral fundamentals and languages. Temporal lobe is found in the cerebral hemisphere.
  • Occipital lobe – this lobe is found in the back of the head and is responsible to control vision.

THE CEREBELLUM

The cerebellum is known as the “little brain” and based on evolutionary scale, it is said to be older than the cerebrum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain which controls the body function like balance, posture and coordination in which enables us to move properly while keeping our body structure. When the cerebellum is damage, it will not lead to paralysis but it will create disorders in movement, equilibrium, posture and motor learning.

THE LIMBIC SYSTEM

The limbic system is the area that helps transmit emotions including the hormonal responses is instigated in this part of the brain. The limbic system includes the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus and thalamus.

  • Amygdala – it helps the body to respond to feelings, memoirs and fear. This is a huge part of the telencephalon located in the temporal lobe which is visible from the outer part of the brain. If you see a lump in that area, it is called the uncus.
  • Hippocampus – the hippocampus is responsible for learning memory, it exchanges momentary memories into permanent memories which will then be stored in the brain in the long term. This part also helps individual to analyze and recall spatial relationship. This part of brain can be found in the cerebral hemisphere.
  • Hypothalamus – this portion is responsible for mood, thirst, hunger and temperature of the body. The hypothalamus also holds glands in which regulate the hormonal processes of the entire body.
  • Thalamus – this can be found in the center of the brain and it is responsible to help controlling the attention span, feeling pain and monitor response that travels in and out of the brain in order to keep updated with sensitivity the body is feeling.

THE BRAIN STEM

Heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing and all basic life functions are all patented in the brain stem. The brain stem comprises of the medulla, midbrain and pons.

  • Medulla – the medulla or medulla oblongata is the most important part of the brain stem because it preserves the primary body function like the heart rate and breathing.
  • Midbrain – the midbrain also called the mesencephalon is consists of the tegmentum and tectum. These portion of brain helps control the body movement, vision and hearing. Meanwhile the anterior part of the midbrain is the cerebral peduncle which contains the axons that transmit messages from the cerebral cortex to the brain stem, and then voluntary motor function will have effect.
  • Pons – this is located in the hindbrain which connects to the cerebellum to assist in movement and posture. Added to that, the pons also interprets information that is used in physical analysis or motor regulator of the body. If you feel sleepy then it is the result of the consciousness that is going on in the pons.

The spinal cord can also be associated with the brain but it is considered as separate thing from the brain because it is an extension of the brain stem. That is why it also has its own sensory and motor pathways from the body to the brain.

Ten Remarkable Things You Didn’t Know about Your Brain

Film Review The Theory of EverythingYou might think you know everything about your brain? Using your brain everyday does not mean you are well aware of how it works and everything in it. You will be surprised at how mysterious and fascinating our brain is. Through years of research, scientists have proven that the brain is capable of immense change. There are still too many facts we didn’t know about brain and is still yet to be discovered. However, scientists have spent a big sum of money towards researching of the brain and this is what they have found:

  • The average adult brain weighs below 3 pounds! And it is very similar to tofu. For about 85% of the brain’s weight is the Cerebrum, it is responsible for motor control of the body. Scientists also found out that the average weight of male’s brain is about 1,336 grams while female is about 1,198 grams. The weight of the brain decreases as we age.
  • Comparing to other creatures on earth, human have the largest brain when it comes to size ratio. Some argue that elephants have the largest brain, well it is quite true however if the ratio of the entire body and the size of the brain are matched, the elephant is only 0.15% while human is 2%.
  • Well, don’t get too excited about your brain. As we age, our brain will become smaller. As a matter of fact, early human 5000 years ago had larger brains comparing to humans in the 21st century. The human brain had shrunk for about 9 cubic inches which is 150 centimeters or total of 10% from the early humans, a research conducted in the University of Wisconsin at Madison by a paleoanthropologist, John Hawks. Furthermore, there are no solid proofs as to why our brain shrinking by time but scientists concluded that it could be due to the evolution of mankind and also because of our diet. The good news is that the brain size is never associated with an individual’s intellect level; in fact Albert Einstein has smaller brain than the average adults.
  • Did you know that your brain uses 25% of sugars circulating in your blood blow and uses 20% of oxygen in your blood? Well, that’s quite a huge number for something that weighs less than 3 pounds! This research was based on the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and they believe that our brain is an energy eater. As a matter of fact, the amount of energy is enough to light a bulb. Our brain can produce maximum of 30 to 35 watts when we are awake. And this will leave you stunned: your brain is the fattest organ in your body! It is about 60% of fats and that explains why it uses 25% of sugars in the body.
  • The brain cells are only comprises of 10% of neurons and the other 90% are called “glia” which means “glue” in Greek. Scientists found out that glia is not just a sticky thing that keeps the neurons intact but it is more than that. Glia or also called by the scientists as the silent cells in the brain is responsible for sweeping off the excess neurotransmitters in order to give immune protection so that it can promote and control the growth between neurons and brain function. With that being said, I believe it is not that silent after all!
  • Yawning is one way for the over exhausted brain to cool down. Yawning happens when the brain do not receives sufficient oxygen due to overworked, thus the yawn is said to be the residual amount of oxygen to the brain. The brain needs enough supply of oxygen in order to work properly, if there is no oxygen the brain cells will start to die every 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Wonder why teenage are often rebellious, emotional and dramatic? It is because teen brains are not yet fully developed. Amazing, isn’t it? The gray matter of the brain mounts up before they reached puberty and there is still development happening in the frontal lobes which is their judgment and decision-making. In fact, the part of brain which responsible for multitasking is not yet fully developed in teen until they are 17 years old. Added to that, teens are less likely to use their medial prefrontal cortex which is related to empathy and guilt until they reached 20 years old.
  • Many people stated that the brain stops changing and lost the ability to create new neural connection when it reaches adulthood is totally wrong. According to several researches by scientists, even adults could form new neurons and in fact intense mental exercise like meditation can change the brain’s structure and functions.
  • Have you ever felt fatigue from traveling to countries with different time zones? Well my friend that is called jetlag and it affects the part of your brain that is in control for learning and memory. Experiencing a severe jetlag increases the production of stress hormones, decreases the size of the temporal lobe and affects your learning and memory part of the brain. Disturbing your sleep cycle in the long run and greatly cause brain damage and affects the brain. Note: body temperature that goes beyond 10.6 degrees Fahrenheit can also damage the brain. In history, there was one exceptional man who reached 115. Degrees Fahrenheit survived without any brain injury or harm left scientists puzzled with the findings.
  • If you think that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, then think again! Scientists have issued in the January 2010 Psychological Bulletin gathered and tested men and women from 60 countries. The results: there is no difference between men and women when it comes to their math ability. Nonetheless, what make these two worlds different is only the hormones that affects the brain and behavior.

Isn’t the human brain so cool? Who would have thought this small, 3 pounds, complex part of our body is control everything about us. It will take us a lifetime to get to know our brains better.

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