The Brain and Its' Structures

Essay by kdubA+, March 2006

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 116 times

There are many different structures and areas inside the brain. I will discuss four of them with you. They are the thalamus, hypothalamus, endocrine and limbic systems. In this paper I will discuss the location of each structure in the brain, its functions, and disorders/pathology related to damage to these structures.

We begin with the thalamus; the thalamus is a mass of nerve cells centrally located in the brain just below the cerebrum and resembles a large egg in size and shape. It consists of a subcortical structure. The thalamus receives and passes on all of the sensory impulses except those of smell, transmitting them to higher nerve centers, such as the cerebal cortex. In addition, it connects various brain centers with others. "Cerebrovascular accidents or strokes can cause thalamic syndrome, which results in a burning or aching sensation on one half of a body, often accompanied by mood swings" (Wikipedia, 2005).

Next, is the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is an important supervisory center in the brain, rich in ganglia, nerve fibers, and synaptic connections. It is made up of several sections called nuclei, each of which controls a specific function. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature, blood pressure, heartbeat, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and sugar levels in the blood. Some neurons in the hypothalamus control arousal, emotions, food and water intake or hunger and thirst, sexual behavior, and temperature. Through direct attachment to the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus also controls water balance and milk production in the female. Furthermore, it is the intermediary link between the nervous system and the endocrine system by "synthesizing and secreting neurohormones" ( A few of them would be, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), somatostatin and dopamine. The neurons that secrete GnRH are linked...