Welcome back! Today I'll share an overview of the anatomy of the brain and the functions of each region/part. This post will be beneficial for reference when I begin to talk more in depth about neuroplasticity and mental health in my upcoming posts. Happy learning!
The brain controls all the functions of the body and it interprets information taken from the outside world through our five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. It stores this information in 'memory'. The brain also manages emotions, speech, movement of other body parts, etc.
Your brain is made up of neurons and glia cells. Neurons are cells that transmit messages using electrical impulses and chemical signals throughout your brain and the rest of the nervous system. Glia cells are 'non-neuronal' and do not use electrical impulses, but rather protect the neurons and maintain homeostasis (the keeping of internal balance and steadiness within the body)
The cranium (a bony case) surrounds and protects your brain. Along with other facial bones, the cranium forms the skull.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a watery material that is also found in the brain as well as the spinal cord. It offers protection to the brain and spinal cord and travels through various passages. It is produced in the ventricles (empty channels) of the brain.
You can't talk about the brain without talking about the spinal cord, which is just as important as the brain itself. The spinal cord communicates and sends messages between the body and the brain.
3 Components of Your Brain
The cerebrum is the largest part of your brain and composes 83% of its entire mass. It is in control of larger functions such as vision, hearing, speech, emotions, comprehension, touch and more. It is made up of the right and left hemispheres. Each hemisphere controls the opposite side of the body.
The right hemisphere of the brain is the 'artistic' side where creativity is controlled as well as attention, memory and reasoning.
The left hemisphere of the brain is the 'logical' side and has parts controlling your language/speech such as Broca's Area and Wernicke's Area.
Cerebral Fissure (Longitudinal Fissure)
The cerebral fissure separates the right and left hemisphere.
The corpus callosum, made up of fibers, joins both halves of the brain at the bottom. Here, messages are transmitted from one side to the other.
The cortex tissue is made up of mostly cell bodies of neurons and has folds/fissures called gyri and sulci. These folds and fissures are what creates the famous wrinkled surface of the brain.
The cerebellum is located at the back of the brain and under the cerebrum. It controls the movements of muscles and keeps the balance and posture of the body. The cerebellum also has right and left hemispheres. The vermis, an area in the middle, connects them and the cortex of the cerebellum is where 16 billion neurons are located.
The brainstem is the most inferior (at the lowest) part of the brain, in front of the cerebellum and acts as an extension connecting to the spinal cord. It transfers messages from the cerebral cortex and the rest of the body. There are three main parts of the brain stem: the midbrain, medulla oblongata, and pons.
The midbrain works with our vision and motor control as well as the processing of auditory senses.
The medulla oblongata governs how the heart and lungs function and plays a vital role in managing important functions such breathing, blood pressure, the rhythm of the heart and more.
The largest part of the brainstem, the pons (located underneath the midbrain) is a bundle of nerves that coordinate the movements of our eyes and face, our hearing, as well as sensory signals on our face. It also passes messages from the cortex to our spinal cords along with the rest of the brainstem.
Reticular Activating System
The reticular activating system is located in all three of the regions of the brainstem as well as the thalamus. It deals with sleeping patterns and allows us to be aware of our surroundings and how awake we are.
The 4 Lobes
The hemispheres of the cerebrum have 4 lobes each. These are the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes and they each have a certain function. The lobes do not work alone, but rather there are many complicated relations between them and the hemispheres.
1. Frontal Lobe
The frontal lobe deals with behavior, emotions, problem solving, making judgments, movement of the body, intelligence, and speech. Two important parts of frontal lobe include the pre-frontal cortex and the primary motor cortex.
The pre-frontal cortex has a major role in managing one's memory, emotional responses, intellect, concentration and more.
Primary motor cortex
The primary motor cortex dictates whether a movement is voluntary or involuntary. Within this cortex, the premotor and supplementary motor areas control the planning process for a movement. The premotor cortex sits right beside the primary motor cortex and directs one's orientation by controlling the movements of the head and eyes.
2. Parietal Lobe
The parietal lobe deals with language/words, touch, pain and temperature, and translates a lot of visual, sensory, and motor signals. One main part of the parietal lobe includes the primary somatosensory cortex where bodily sensations are recepted and then processed.
3. Temporal Lobe
The temporal lobe also works with language, memory, auditory senses, as well as organization and sequencing.
4. Occipital Lobe
The occipital lobe controls the visual senses and processes one's vision. Your interpretation of color, lightness/darkness, and movement is translated here.
Thanks for reading, I hope you learned something new :) This is just a rundown as there is so much more to the brain and many more intricate pieces- I've complied the most major and important parts here. I'll definitely be talking about the nervous and limbic systems next! See you in my next post!
“Brain Anatomy, Anatomy of the Human Brain.” Mayfieldclinic.com, mayfieldclinic.com/pe-anatbrain.htm.
Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “Brain: Function and Anatomy of Parts, Diagram, Conditions, Health Tips.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 15 Apr. 2019, www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/brain.