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Human Health

Anatomy of the Brain, parts of the brain and their functions

Anatomy of the Brain, parts of the brain

The brain is a brilliant organ, and there is still so much to find out about it and how it functions. The brain gives us meaning to the world, and all that is associated with it. This meaning is determined by the five senses of the brain; sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste, these senses are often received via multiple signals at the same time.

There are many different sections of the brain, these control humans, thoughts, speech, memory, limbs, and other important functions of the human body. The brain also regulates heart, and breathing rhythms according to different environmental situations.

Brains vary in weight from birth to adulthood, with the brain weighing on average one pound at birth, and grows to weigh around 2.7 pounds for an adult female, and an adult male brain weighs around three pounds.

Dura Mater

The dura mater located in the brain is made from two layers of whitish, nonelastic membrane. The outer layer is known as the periosteum. The inner layer, dura, lines the inside of the complete skull, it is composed of many small compartments, parts of the brain are secured in these compartments, gaining protection.  The dura has two special folds, called the tentorium, which separates the top and bottom of the brain.


The second layer of the meninges known as the arachnoid, is thin and quite delicate, and covers the entire brain. A space located between the dura and the arachnoid membranes called the subdural space can be opened by the separation of the arachnoid mater via the dura mater as a result of trauma. The arachnoid is a delicate section within the brain and is composed of elastic tissue, and blood vessels, of a multitude of different sizes.

Pia Mater

The pia mater is located closest to the surface of the brain. The pia mater is covered in may blood vessels that travel into deep areas of the brain. The pia which again covers all of the brains surface, follows the brain’s folds. Major arteries that supply the brain, provide the pia with its blood supply. Where the pia and the arachnoid are separated is named the subarachnoid space, within this space is where cerebrospinal fluid flows.

Enclosed in the cerebral hemispheres are two ventricles named the lateral ventricles. These lateral ventricles communicate with another ventricle called the Formen of Monro, which is located in a separate opening. The Foramen of Munro is located in the center of the brain, with the thalamus and hypothalamus making up its walls.

The Formen of Munro ventricle is connected to the Aqueduct of Sylvius, via a long tube.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) travels through the Aqueduct of the Sylvius ventricle, supplying the brain, and spinal cord, via another series of foramen.

Many simple or primitive functions that are essential for survival are located here.

The medulla oblongata is a long stem-like section that regulates human blood pressure, breathing, swallowing, and heart rhythms. The brainstem and the pons, send messages to the cortex, which consecutively sends the information to the spinal cord, and the spinal cords associated nerve system. If serious damage is inflicted to these regions of the brain, it may cause brain death, as humans can not survive without these basic functions.

The reticular activating system (RAS) is located within the pons, midbrain, medulla, and part of the thalamus. The reticular activating system controls wakefulness, control of the circadian rhythm, and promotes attention spans.

Located within the brain stem are ten out of the 12 cranial nerves, these, control; eye movement, facial sensations, hearing, taste, swallowing, and movements associated with; tongue muscles, face, neck, and shoulders.

The cerebrum is the largest component of the brain, and is divided into two individual sections, these are the right and left cerebral hemispheres. The two hemispheres are separated by a fissure or otherwise known as a groove, this is called the great longitudinal fissure. The right and left cerebral hemispheres are joined by the corpus callosum, the corpus callosum passes messages from one half of the hemisphere to the other. The cerebrum’s surface contains billions of neurons, and glia, which form the cerebral cortex.

The cerebral cortex, which is greyish in colour, is known as gray matter. When looking at the surface of the brain, it is wrinkled, these wrinkles in the cerebral cortex have sulci (small grooves), fissures (larger grooves), and bulges between the grooves, known as gyri. Below the cerebral cortex is a white coloured area called the white matter.

The cerebral hemispheres have several fissures, these fissures are divided into pairs of lobes (lobes meaning large areas of the brain). These lobes are named; frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital.  These lobes are also divided again into more specific functioning areas of the brain. These lobes function not alone, but in combined actions of the other lobes.

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