Human Brain Parts: Definition, Functions & Anatomy
Human Brain Parts: Definition, Functions & Anatomy.
How important the brain is cannot be overemphasized, because the brain comprises of every information that allows you to carry out your activity as being a human. This brings me to the phrase most people usually use for others when they either ask them offensive questions, and one could say, “use your brain.” Use your brain simply means put the brain cells to work and figure out the use of having a functional brain.
What defines the Brain
The brain is an organ that’s made up of a large mass of nerve tissue that’s protected within the skull. It plays a role in just about every major body system. It is the command center for the human nervous system. It receives signals from the body’s sensory organs and outputs information to the muscles. The human brain has the same basic structure as other mammal brains but is larger in relation to body size than any other brains.
Some of its main functions of the brain include:
- Processing sensory information.
- Regulating blood pressure and breathing.
- Releasing hormones.
Anatomy of the human brain and function
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The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It’s divided into two halves, called hemispheres, according to the Mayfield Clinic. Underneath lies the brainstem, and behind that sits the cerebellum. The two hemispheres are separated by a groove called the interhemispheric fissure. It’s also called the longitudinal fissure.
Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into broad regions called lobes. Each lobe is associated with different functions: Frontal lobes, Parietal lobes, Temporal lobes, and Occipital lobes.
Frontal lobes. The frontal lobes are the largest of the lobes. As indicated by their name, they’re located in the front part of the brain. They coordinates high-level behaviors, such as motor skills, problem solving, judgment, planning, and attention. The frontal lobes also manage emotions and impulse control.
Parietal lobes: The parietal lobes are located behind the frontal lobes. They’re involved in organizing and interpreting sensory information from other parts of the brain.
Temporal lobes: The temporal lobes are located on either side of the head on the same level as the ears. They coordinate specific functions, including visual memory (such as facial recognition), verbal memory (such as understanding language), and interpreting the emotions and reactions of others.
Occipital lobes: The occipital lobes are located in the back of the brain. They’re heavily involved in the ability to read and recognize printed words, along with other aspects of vision.
Like all vertebrate brains, the human brain develops from three sections known as:
Each of these contains fluid-filled cavities called ventricles. The forebrain develops into the cerebrum and underlying structures; the midbrain becomes part of the brainstem; and the hindbrain gives rise to regions of the brainstem and the cerebellum.
The cerebral cortex is greatly enlarged in human brains and is considered the seat of complex thought. Visual processing takes place in the occipital lobe, near the back of the skull. The temporal lobe processes sound and language, and includes the hippocampus and amygdala, which play roles in memory and emotion, respectively. The parietal lobe integrates input from different senses and is important for spatial orientation and navigation.
The brainstem connects to the spinal cord and consists of the medulla oblongata, pons and midbrain. The primary functions of the brainstem include relaying information between the brain and the body; supplying some of the cranial nerves to the face and head; and performing critical functions in controlling the heart, breathing and consciousness.
Between the cerebrum and brainstem lie the thalamus and hypothalamus. The thalamus relays sensory and motor signals to the cortex and is involved in regulating consciousness, sleep and alertness. The hypothalamus connects the nervous system to the endocrine system — where hormones are produced — via the pituitary gland.
The cerebellum lies beneath the cerebrum and has important functions in motor control. It plays a role in coordination and balance and may also have some cognitive functions.
Conditions that can affect the Brain
There are hundreds of conditions that can affect the brain. Most of them fall within one of five main categories:
Brain Injury Symptoms
Brain injury symptoms depend on the type and severity of the injury. While they sometimes appear immediately after a traumatic event, they can also show up hours or days later. General brain injury symptoms may include:
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Feeling confused or disoriented.
- Feeling tired or drowsy.
- Speech problems, including slurring.
- Seeping more or less than usual.
- Dilation of one or both pupils.
- Fluid draining from your nose or ears.
- Sensory problems, such as blurry vision or a ringing in your ears.
- Trouble remembering things or difficulty concentrating.
- Mood swings or unusual behavior.
Cerebrovascular Injury Symptoms
Symptoms tend to come on suddenly and include:
- Severe headache.
- Loss of vision.
- Inability to speak.
- Inability to move or feel a part of the body.
- Drooping face.
Brain Tumor Symptoms
Brain tumor symptoms depend on the size, location, and type of tumor. General brain tumor symptoms may include:
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Loss of motor coordination, such as trouble walking.
- Feeling sleepy.
- Feelings of weakness.
- Appetite changes.
- Convulsions or seizures.
- Issues with your vision, hearing, or speech.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Mood swings or behavior changes
Neurodegenerative diseases cause damage to nervous tissue over time, so their symptoms may get worse as time goes on.General neurodegenerative symptoms include:
- Memory loss or forgetfulness.
- Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.
- Issues with motor coordination, such as difficulty walking or staying balanced.
- Speech issues, such as slurring or hesitation before speaking.
Symptoms of psychological conditions can be very different from person to person, even when they involve the same condition. Some general symptoms of a psychological condition include:
- Excessive feelings of fear, worry, or guilt.
- Feeling sad or dejected.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Low energy.
- Extreme stress that gets in the way of daily activities.
- Extreme mood swings.
- Withdrawal from loved ones or activities.
- Delusions or hallucinations.
- Suicidal ideation.
Humans vs. Other Animals
Overall brain size doesn’t correlate with level of intelligence. For instance, the brain of a sperm whale is more than five times heavier than the human brain but humans are considered to be of higher intelligence than sperm whales.
Humans have a very high brain-weight-to-body-weight ratio, but so do other animals. The reason why the human’s intelligence, in part, is neurons and folds. Humans have more neurons per unit volume than other animals, and the only way to do that with the brain’s layered structure is to make folds in the outer layer, or cortex, said Eric Holland, a neurosurgeon and cancer biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.
“The more complicated a brain gets, the more gyri and sulci, or wiggly hills and valleys, it has,” Holland said. Other intelligent animals, such as monkeys and dolphins, also have these folds in their cortex, whereas mice have smooth brains, he said.
Humans also have the largest frontal lobes of any animal, Holland said. The frontal lobes are associated with higher-level functions such as self-control, planning, logic and abstract thought — basically, “the things that make us particularly human,” he said.
Left Brain vs. Right Brain
The human brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left and right, connected by a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. The hemispheres are strongly, though not entirely, symmetrical. The left brain controls all the muscles on the right-hand side of the body and the right brain controls the left side. One hemisphere may be slightly dominant, as with left- or right-handedness.
The popular notions about “left brain” and “right brain” qualities are generalizations that are not well supported by evidence. Still, there are some important differences between these areas. The left brain contains regions involved in speech and language (called the Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, respectively) and is also associated with mathematical calculation and fact retrieval, Holland said.
The right brain plays a role in visual and auditory processing, spatial skills and artistic ability — more instinctive or creative things, Holland said — though these functions involve both hemispheres. “Everyone uses both halves all the time,” he said.
Tips For a Healthy Brain
Follow these tips to keep your brain in good health and to reduce your risk of certain brain conditions:
Use it or lose it
Improve your mental fitness by regularly reading, learning, or doing activities that make you think, such as crossword puzzles. All of these helps stimulate your nerve cells, and may even lead to the development of new brain cells.
Protect your head
Always wear a helmet when playing contact sports. Be sure to buckle up when you get in the car. Both of these can go a long way when it comes to avoiding brain injuries.
Doing regular cardio workouts stimulates blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.
While smoking is bad for your overall health, it can also lead to cognitive decline.