Howdy there, it’s Haley, Viviana, Dimanique and Savannah here in our first blog post to talk to you about the fascinating brain stem! The brain stem, which is inferior to the hypothalamus and anterior to the cerebellum, is responsible for many functions in the human body. The brain stem controls all of the body’s motor functions, like reflexes and other automatic responses.
A sub component of the brain stem called the medulla oblongata it is also responsible for the bodies autonomic functions such as breathing and digestion, because it contains the control enters for the heart and lungs among many other body parts. The medulla oblongata connects the brain to the spinal cord and is responsible for passing “messages along”. The hypothalamus, which was briefly mentioned above, is another sub-component of the brain stem. The hypothalamus is responsible for producing hormones such as those responsible for regulating mood and hunger. The pons which is located inferior to the medulla oblongata, is only 2.5 cm, but is responsible for some of the most important functions in the body. Without the pons no messages would be able to be passed throughout the brain, because the pons serves as a bridge between the upper and lower brain, also known as the cerebrum and the cerebellum. These messages passed along have to do with sleeping, breathing, bladder control, balance, taste, facial expressions and posture. Obviously the pons is a very necessary part of the brainstem. The midbrain is the last part of the brainstem and it’s purpose is to react to the information that our senses take in.
The brain stem controls a lot of very important things, so it’s obvious that injuries to the brain stem can be very dangerous and even life ending. Each year in America over 1.5 million people suffer from brain stem injuries. Brain stem injuries can range from mild to severe. A mild injury also known as a concussion can result in memory loss and unconsciousness. A severe injury can mean a coma or vegetative state and even death. These injuries can result from car accidents to playing sports, but either way they can be equally dangerous. In many situations they can be avoided and prevented.
Thanks for reading! Be on the lookout for some more brain related posts.
-Haley, Savannah, Viviana and Dimanique
Brain Stem.” Brain Stem. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://www.mhhe.com/
“Lateral View of Brainstem.” Liberty Voice. N.p., 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Sept.