The brain is probably most recognizable by an outer layer of wrinkled material called the cerebral cortex, which is also called the forebrain. This is an area that developed much later on in the history of humans, in terms of evolution. This tutorial will cover:
The more basic and earlier parts of our brain development occurred at the hindbrain. These are the structures of the brain that are at the center of the core of the brain and are connected to the spinal cord that goes out to the rest of the body. This is also an area that we would call the brainstem, which includes the midbrain as well as the hindbrain.
The first section of the brainstem is the Medulla, or the full name, Medulla Oblongata. It is connected directly to the spinal cord.
The medulla oblongata is related to involuntary body processes; the things that are important to keeping us alive. The medulla regulates things like breathing, heart rate, digestion, and swallowing. You may think of them as reflexes, but they are not; a lot of reflexes are controlled by the spinal cord itself.
The medulla even regulates sneezing!
The pons is located directly above the medulla and literally means "bridge" in Latin. You can see why, because the pons is related to transferring information from the hindbrain to the other areas of the brain.
It transfers information between the medulla and the brain and all the different brain structures, particularly in relation to things like sleep and arousal. It's kind of a messenger that also helps to regulate those kinds of important bodily processes, and this works in conjunction with the reticular formation.
The reticular formation (RF) is a little network of neurons, which is located inside the medulla and up to the pons. It is associated with attention and things we pay attention to. It's also related to things like sleep and arousal, like the pons. The Reticular Activating System (RAS), activates other areas of the cerebral cortex, and it's the kind of thing that keeps you awake or alert.
The RAS makes sure that you are awake during certain periods of time, like when you're trying to study for a test late at night.
Ever notice why children have short attention spans? It's because the reticular formation, isn't fully developed until adolescence.
The Cerebellum is sort of cauliflower looking structure that's located at the rear of the brain, right underneath and in the back of the cerebral cortex and all the other structures.
It controls movements, and it helps to regulate coordination and balance. Again, this is a very important basic area of the brain. It keeps you upright and keeps you moving. It's also related to memories of things like skills and habits, so things that are related to motor movements and basic sorts of memory that you don't necessarily have to think too hard about.
Today's lesson has been a brief overview of the structures found within the hundbrain. The medulla oblongata is related to involuntary body processes. The pons is related to transferring information from the hindbrain to the other areas of the brain. The cerebellum is responsible for habits and motor movements.
Keep up the learning and have a great day!
Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.
Structures of the brain at the center or core of the brain, connected directly to the spinal cord; also referred to as the hindbrain (cerebellum, pons, medulla oblongata).
The area directly connected to the spinal cord; related to reflexive, involuntary body processes important to living.
The area just above the medulla and pons that transfers information between medulla and brain, as well as the rest of the brain structures.
A network of neurons inside the medulla related to attention and alertness.
A system that heightens other areas of the cerebral cortex and keeps a person awake and alert.
The structure at the back of the brain, behind medulla and pons that helps to control movement and to regulate coordination and balance.