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7.4.1.1. Encephalon

Brain

The brain is the largest and most important part of the encephalon. It is made up of white matter in its inner area and gray matter is its outer area, the cerebral cortex, where learningmemoryintelligenceconsciousness and voluntary movements are directed. It is responsible for receiving the information that comes from the sense organs and preparing the responses.

It is important not to confuse the brain (everything inside the skull) with the brain (a part of the brain).

In humans, the cerebral cortex has more surface area than in other organisms, so in order for it to fit inside the skull, it must have abundant folds, which can be of two types:

  • Circumvolutions of the brain: numerous and shallow.
  • Fissures: scarce and deep, dividing the brain into two cerebral hemispheres.

Emcéfalo y sus partes

By Jkwchui (Commons File:Cerebrum lobes.svg) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Activity: The brain.

The brainstem

The brainstem (or brain stem) groups together various parts of the brain, located between the brain and the medulla oblongata, which regulate the states of sleep and wakefulness, visual and auditory reflexes, communication between the brain and other parts of the brain, as well as the selection of the stimuli that happen to the brain.

The hypothalamus, a part of the brain stem, is connected to the pituitary, a gland that it controls. The pituitary gland secretes hormones that regulate the rest of the glands of the endocrine system.

The cerebellum

The cerebellum is located at the back of the encephalon, under the brain. It is responsible for receiving information about the balance that the ear sends and regulating the movement of the muscles involved in balance. In addition, it is responsible for muscle coordination and other movements in which various muscles participate, such as walking, running, cycling, dancing, etc.

The medulla oblongata

The medulla oblongata is an extension of the spinal cord, located under the cerebellum, that connects the cord with the brainThe nerves that come from the spinal cord and those that come down from the brain pass through the medulla oblongata, where they intersect, so that the right cerebral hemisphere receives information from the left side of the body, and the left cerebral hemisphere receives information from the left side of the body, right of the body.

In addition, the brainstem is also part of the autonomic nervous system, in charge of controlling automatic functions, such as heartbeatblood pressurerespiratory rate, cough, vomiting, sneezing, hiccups, etc.


         

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Biology and Geology teaching materials for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) and Baccalaureate students.