The Brain

functions and descriptions

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  • Largest part of the brain
  • Divided into left and right cerebral hemispheres linked by the corpus callosum.
  • Responsible for all higher order processes including thinking, language, emotions, planning and memory.
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Medulla Oblongata

  • Found beneath the cerebellum, merges into the spinal cord
  • It is the basis of the autonomic nervous system, involved in control of non-skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles (heart rate) respiratory muscles (breathing) and smooth e.g. peristalsis.
  • Impulses pass along vagus nerve to muscles in the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to give regular contractions.
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  • Is about the size of a pearl.
  • Controls the homeostatic mechanisms of the body.
  • Controls autonomic nervous system and endocrine glands.
  • Information from temperature and osmoreceptors is processed here. It then regulates blood water potential and body temperature by sending messages in the form of hormones to the pituitary gland which releases other hormones into the body.
  • the hypothalamus links the nervous system and endocrine system together.
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Cerebral cortex

  • The surface of each cerebral hemisphere is covered by a highly folded layer called the cerebral cortex. the small folds vary from person to person the large folds don't.
  • these large folds separate the lobes; frontal, occipital, temporal and parietal.
  • different areas are responsible for specific activities and body regions there are;
    • sensory areas that receive impulses
    • association areas make up most of the cerebral cortex (compare input with previous input to interpret and judge response, interegate information from sense organs, planning actions and movements, emotions and memory).
    • motor areas (send impulses to effectors).
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Pituitary gland

  • It is the size of a pea and is found in a bony hollow behind the bridge of the nose.
  • The hypothalamus controls it by sending messages to it.
  • The hypothalamus is situated directly above it.
  • It is the master gland as it controls other hormone glands.
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