What You Need To Know: Anatomy of the Brain
Since we deal with the brain every day and help treat people with brain disorders or diseases and people who have suffered a trauma, called traumatic brain injury, we need to have a thorough understanding of how the brain works. We assess the different parts of the brain using physical exam techniques and certain imaging modalities when necessary.
The brain is the most complex structure in the human body and there are still a lot of things that we don’t yet know about the brain. However, neuroscientists are actively exploring and investigating how the different parts of the brain work and communicate with each other.
The brain has three basic functions in humankind:
1. Receive signals from the environment
2. Interpret these signals and apply a meaning to the signals
3. Transmit an appropriate response to the signals received from the environment
**The basic goal is to promote survivability and reproduction
Article adapted from Carrick Brain Centers
4 Main Parts of the Brain:
3. Brain stem
4. Limbic cortex
Cerebrum: the cerebrum is the part of the brain that is the most talked about in general. It is made up of 4 lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes.
Frontal Lobe: is the part of the brain where most of our personality lives. This is the part of the brain where our creative thoughts are controlled. It is also the part of the brain that controls our judgment, problem solving, and abstract thinking. Certain physical things are controlled in this lobe as well such as coordinated movement and physical reactions.
Parietal Lobe: is the lobe of the brain that controls a lot of our comprehension when it comes to languages, reading, and vision. It also controls sensory comprehension. Within the Parietal Lobe are the Sensory and Motor Cortices. The Sensory Cortex receives information signals from the spinal cord; when your body feels pain or pleasure, this is the part of the brain that recognizes these feelings. The Motor Cortex helps to control and monitor movement.
Temporal Lobe: helps to form both visual and auditory memories. It also helps with the ability to speak and hear. Within the Temporal Lobe is the Wernicke’s Area, which is still an area of the brain that scientists are studying. However, it is believed that the Wernicke’s Area largely helps in the formation and understanding of speech.
Occipital Lobe: is the part of the brain that is all about vision and how it is controlled. It contains a part of the brain called the Broca’s Area, which is the area of the brain that helps a person to control facial neurons, as well as to understand the speech and language.
Since the limbic cortex is located in the brain itself, we will discuss it here.
The main parts of the Limbic cortex are: the Amygdala, the Hippocampus, the Hypothalamus, and the Thalamus. These parts of the brain, as well as glands we will discuss help to control emotions and hormones in a person’s body. The Limbic System is sometimes referred to by scientists as “deep structures.”
The Amygdala is part of the Temporal Lobe within the Cerebrum. It is the gland that helps to control reactions to fear, emotions, and memories. This gland receives input by all visceral senses and from other glands in the brain. The way that a person learns emotionally is controlled by the Amygdala.
The Hippocampus is the part of the brain that helps people commit things to memory. It helps us turn temporary memories into permanent ones. It also helps us with spatial relationships and allows us to move accordingly. If you experience an issue with depth perception for example, there could be reason to check what’s going on with your Hippocampus.
The Hypothalamus contains glands that control hormones throughout the body. Anytime a person feels hungry or thirsty, it’s the Hypothalamus that is controlling that. It also controls mood and temperature of the body.
The Thalamus is the part of the brain that deals with the communication of sensations. It is somewhat of a relay station for feelings. It plays a large role in the way that we feel and experience pain.
Important Glands in the Brain
The Pituitary Gland is something that we usually learn about in middle school biology classes. It is known by many as the “Master” gland, because it controls sexual development, response to stress, muscle growth, and the ability to fight diseases.
The Pineal Gland, like the Pituitary gland, has some role in sexual development as well. However, the main function of this gland is to help monitor our body’s internal clock (also known as the circadian rhythm); helps control our levels of melatonin. If a person is experiencing trouble sleeping, there could be an issue with the Pineal gland.
The Cerebellum is located beneath the Cerebrum. It is referred to by scientists as “the little brain.” This is the part of the brain that particularly controls a person’s muscle movement, posture, and balance. However, it is also involved with emotion, eye movements and other functions as well.
The Brain Stem
At the base of the brain, or the top of the neck, is where the Brain Stem is found. This part of the brain is crucial to basic life functions: breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure, etc. There are three main parts of the Brain Stem: The Medulla, the Pons, and the Midbrain.
The Medulla is the part of the Brain Stem that helps to regulate the heart rate and breathing.
The Pons is the part of the brain that is connected to The Cerebellum, or “the little brain,” as we mentioned earlier. The Pons and the Cerebellum work together to control movement and posture; it helps with motor control. Something you may not know about the Pons is that this is the part of the brain that is responsible for creating the necessary consciousness needed to be asleep.
The Midbrain also helps control movement, like the Pons. However, it also helps to control vision and hearing. Being in the middle, hence its name, the Midbrain helps to relay the messages that make motor function possible.
Within the Brain Stem, there are 10 of the 12 cranial nerves. These nerves help us to form facial movements, swallow, hear, move our eyes, taste, and move our head, neck, and tongue. (The other two nerves originate in the Cerebrum.)
Where do we come in?
Here at Village Center Chiropractic, we know that all of this information can be overwhelming—and this was just a basic overview! We’re experts on the brain, how it works, and how to treat it to help you rehabilitate in the best way possible. Whether you’re suffering from a TBI, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, a concussion, or something else, we’re here to help. If you have any further questions about a part of the brain, what it does, and how we can help you, feel free to read more here on our blog or contact us directly for a consultation!