Brain stem

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The midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata are labelled on this section of the human brain.

The brain stem is the rear part of the brain. It connects the other parts of the brain (the cerebrum and cerebellum) to the spinal cord.

It has three sections; the hindbrain, pons and midbrain.

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 hindbrain is the medulla oblongata which is an extension of the spinal cord. It contains many neurons that serve as the control centre of bodily functions, such as breathing and blood pressure.

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.