The human brain is one of the most complex structures ever studied, and many aspects of it are still unclear for many specialists and researchers. This organ allows us to think, reason, imagine, remember, perform and learn activities in our daily lives. Protected underneath the skull, the brain is capable of receiving sensory information through our five senses, and arrange those signals in a way that we can interpret and that we can store in our memory.
For most human beings, the brain looks very similar and has identical features. It is a spongy, bland, and intricate fat and protein mass that weighs around three pounds. Along with the cranial nerves and the spinal cord, it comprises the central nervous system. There are two main types of cells that can be found in the brain: neurons and glia. Neurons are widely known for their long ramifications called dendrites and axons, responsible for gathering and transmitting electrochemical signals. A human brain can have around 100 billion neurons. Glia is less known, but very important as well, and they are in a larger quantity than neurons. These cells help to keep other structures in place.
Our brain is not simply located inside our heads without any external protection. In fact, there is a bony cover known as the cranium, and it prevents injuries in the brain tissue along with a very hard bone structure. Together they form the skull, and right between it and the brain, the meninges can be found. These three layers of protective tissue, that also cover the spinal cord, are the dura mater, the arachnoid, and the pia mater.
Is the brain divided into different parts?
In fact, it is. In anatomical terms, it can be divided into three major parts: the brainstem, the cerebellum, and the cerebrum. Each of these parts is responsible for performing very specific motor and cognitive functions and also delivering signals between the rest of the body and the respective lobes and hemispheres.
What functions do the brainstem and the cerebellum have?
The brainstem is the lowest part of the brain, right in front of the cerebellum, and it is directly connected to the spinal cord. It is also divided into three different sections, which are: the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. Ten cranial nerves originate in the brainstem, which is able to control automatic functions like digesting food, heart rate, body temperature, breathing, sneezing, coughing, swallowing, and vomiting.
The cerebellum is in charge of coordinating motor activities and functions, like very fine movements with the hands and fingers, and repetitive actions such as games. It also controls balance, posture and the position of limbs at any given time.
What is the largest portion of the brain?
It is called the cerebrum. It holds around 85% of the brain’s total weight, and it is easily recognizable due to its deeply wrinkled outer surface called the cerebral cortex. It is divided into two major parts: the right and the left hemispheres. These sections perform even more sophisticated functions such as translating and interpreting touch, vision, and hearing into meaningful information; it also handles and controls speech, learning processes, reasoning, emotions, and very fine motor performance.
How is the CSF produced?
The Cerebrospinal Fluid is a watery substance fabricated inside a structure very deep inside our brain called the choroid plexus, which is located in each of our ventricles. This makes CSF an essential part of our ventricular system, since it circulates through channels inside the spinal cord and the brain, preventing major damage to these organs. It is constantly being absorbed and replenished by the body, although disruptions can occur.
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