Brain Stem

The Basics Of The Brain Stem


The brain stem is the message center of the brain. Information is passes through this center in order to get to all of the important locations in the brain and the body. It is located at the base of the skull and is connected to the spinal cord. Together, they form the basis of the messaging system of the body. All messages that are passed to and from the brain are sent to this area and they are then sent to the appropriate locations. Other than sending messages this area is also responsible for an array of involuntary functions within the body including breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.

The Three Parts Of The Brain Stem

Brain StemThis part of the brain is divided into 3 parts. The medulla oblongata, the pons and the midbrain each have their own sets of responsibilities that they carry out within the body and many of these are actions that we are not even aware that we are doing such as breathing.

The Medulla Oblongata

This part of the brain is mainly responsible for breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. While the other areas of the brain are concentrating on what is going on around us, this part of the brain is continuously making sure that we are able to function without us having to pay attention to the processes. This part of the brain is also responsible for making sure that the left part of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.

The Pons

This part of the brain is mainly responsible for the relaying of messages between the brain and the body. When a message is received by the senses the pons will then direct it to the most appropriate part of the brain. This area is also responsible for relaying information from our brains to our bodies so that we can react appropriately in different situations.

The Midbrain

Our senses are constantly taking in information from the world around us. When we hear or see something that grabs our attention, it is the midbrain that is reacting to this information and causing us to direct our attention to the sights or sounds.

Working Together For The Greater Good

All of these areas of the brain stem are constantly working together so that the body can function in the way that it should. If one area of the brain is not functioning properly then it is possible for another part of the brain to take over this function since their functions often overlap in many situations. An example of this overlapping is when you are taking deep and purposeful breaths. During this time you might think that the medulla oblongata is solely responsible for this since it is in charge of involuntary breathing but this is not the case; since you are breathing voluntary the medulla oblongata is working together with the pons in order to complete the action.

The brain stem is an important part of the brain and body; it's the message center, and when there's damage to it, the body suffers greatly.

Want To Learn More?

We recommend investing in this guide to human physiology and anatomy. It will help you learn anatomy, including the brain, very efficiently and quicly!. Plus it's a fantastic reference for the entire human body with an extensive section on the brain.


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