Articles Database: Brain Anatomy
 
It goes without saying that the most complex organ in your body is your brain. It is the controlling organ for co-ordinating all of your bodily functions, your sensations, movement, feelings and everything else. This article will take a closer look at the anatomy of the brain.

The cranium


The brain is secured by bone called the cranium and this is part of your skull. Within this, there is a tissue made up of 3 areas, called:

  • Pia mater – which is closest to the surface of the brain
  • Arachnoid membrane – which is between the bone and the brain and the other layers
  • Dura mater – which is closest to the bone

The cerebrum – the front and largest area of the brain


The cerebrum is responsible for all of your higher mental functions such as:

  • Problem solving ability
  • Your ability to learn, understand and memorise
  • Reason and judgement abilities
  • Your senses including hearing, vision, touch and emotions
  • Physical movement
  • The temperature of your body

The cerebrum is split into the left and right hemispheres. The left brain controls the right areas of your body, and the right brain controls the left. The right side is commonly associated with creativity, idea generation, abstraction and artistic abilities. The left on the other hand is commonly associated with logic and mathematical types of thinking. These are generalisations though, and there are many areas of overlap between the 2 areas of the brain.

On top of this, each area of the brain is separated into lobes, with each lobe being response for a variety of bodily functions:

  • Frontal lobes are commonly associated with the areas of vocality, character and kinaesthetic development
  • Temporal lobes are linked to grammar and linguistics, your ability to memorise and learn, as well as speech abilities
  • Parietal lobes are linked to the physical touch and sensation
  • The Occipital lobe is the main area for visual faculties

The cerebrum itself is very wrinkly looking and contains many bumps and folds. This increases the surface area. The bumps and folds are called sulci and gyri. Neurons are interspersed throughout the cerebrum.

The brainstem – the central structure within the brain


The brainstem is an area of the brain which is found in front of the cerebellum area. Many areas of the brain are connected to the brainstem.

The brainstem is associated with the operations of the body, and mainly:

  • The ability to breathe and swallow
  • Heart muscle functionality
  • Your eyes and mouth, particularly their movements
  • Muscle movements that are involuntary
  • Hunger
  • Pain, heat, noise and other sensory information
The cerebellum

The cerebellum is found at the back of the head. Technically, it is a small area of the brain but it contains a very high number of nerve cells. This area of the brain is associated with movement and controls:

  • Voluntary movements of muscle
  • Extremely delicate movement skills
  • Balance and posture

 

Some Other Components Which Make Up The Brain

 

The Ventricular system


The brain itself is not solid and contains many cavities, commonly called ventricles. These provide nutrients and nourishment for the brain, and also produce a fluid which acts as protection for it.

 

Cranial nerves


There are 12 cranial nerves within the brain and these relate to specific areas of the body. :

  • Olfactory nerve – smell

  • Optic nerve – sight

  • Hypoglossal – associated with the tongue and its movement

  • Accessory – associated with the neck and shoulder muscles

  • Glossopharyngeal – associated with the mouth, especially tasting and swallowing

  • Abducens and trochlear– eye movements

  • Vestibulocochlear – hearing, balance

  • Vagus – swallowing, taste

  • Trigeminal – facial sensations, chewing

  • Oculomotor – eye movements, eyelid opening

  • Facial – taste, facial expressions

Pituitary gland


The pituitary gland is located in the center of the brain and is approximately pea sized. It is responsible for releasing hormones throughout the body.

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