Though the brainstem is small, it is an extremely important part of the brain as the nerve connections of the motor and sensory systems from the main part of the brain to the rest of the body pass through the brain stem. Also, the brain stem provides the main motor and sensory nerves to the face and neck. These are the cranial nerves.
The brain stem controls many bodily functions of which we are not normally aware, such as breathing and sweating. It is important for that reason. The brainstem controls functions which are unconscious, but necessary for life.
Functions of the brainstem[change | edit source]
- All information going between the body and the cerebellum and the cerebrum must go through the brainstem.
- Cranial nerves 3–12 emerge from the brainstem.
- It is involved in cardiovascular system control, respiratory control, pain sensitivity control, alertness, awareness, and consciousness. Thus, brainstem damage is a very serious and often life-threatening problem.