Sonya Bass, Jennifer Lovejoy, Kimberly Housley, Mary Long, Jean Dimarco PSY 340
July 12, 2010
Dr. Ricky Fenwick
Brain Structure and Behavior Paper
The brain is the organ where the information of the body is stored. The brain allows one to think, see, taste, smell, move, and feel. The brain communicates with chemical reactions and electrical signals, which are transmitted throughout the body by nerves. The three main parts of the brain are the cerebellum, the cerebrum, and the brain stem. At the junction of the cerebrum and spinal cord is where the brainstem is located. The brainstem is a thick stalk like organ about two inches long, and responsible for our conscience, sexual arousal, and basic attentions. Parts of the brain stem include the puns, medulla oblongata, and the midbrain (Explore). The brainstem, functions, structure damages, and behavior changes, as well as future research and treatments that may occur within the brainstem are examined in this paper. Brain Stem Structure and Functions
The brain stem is a structure in the brain located in the space next to the cerebrum and is attached to the spinal column. Consisting of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata the brain stem has the immense responsibility of relaying all information to and from our bodies through the central nervous system, (Brain Structures and Their Functions, 2010). Structurally the brain stem is formed by the midbrain, located next to the thalamus, the pons, which is the structure in the middle and the medulla oblongata which is located at its base. The midbrain, also known as the mesencephalon, includes the tectum and tegmentum. These segments help to perform functions such as vision, hearing, eye movement, and body movement. Helping to enhance voluntary motor functioning is the cerebral peduncle which consists of a bundle of axons which extends from the cerebral cortex through the brain stem. The pons is the part of the metencephalon in the hindbrain which is most notably responsible for the regulation of sleep, also assists in the relay of sensory information between the cerebrum and cerebellum as well as motor control and even facial sensation. Cerebellar peduncles that connect the cerebellum to the pons and midbrain, are part of its structure. A bridge-like structure, the pons links different parts of the brain and serves as a relay station from the medulla to the higher cortical structures of the brain, (Johnson, 2007). Made up of bundles of nerve fibers, the medulla oblongata is the elongated part of the brain stem located at the base of the brain and is attached to the spinal cord. This segment of the stem is responsible for involuntary, yet extremely important bodily functions such as heart rate, swallowing, breathing, and blood pressure. Damage and Its Consequences
These responsibilities are what make injuries to the brain stem so life threatening. Most brain stem damage is caused by blunt trauma, where the brain is jolted violently and collides inside the skull, or oxygen depletion to the brain for a prolonged period of time. Any brain stem injury can result in very serious complications, such as communication, behavioral, cognitive, or sensory processing difficulties. The results are even more devastating in severe cases which end in comas, stupors, vegetative states, or death. Damage can occur upon direct impact, or subsequent bleeding, and swelling of the brain. The results are even more devastating in severe cases ending in stupors, vegetative states, death, or prolonged comas. As the brain stem controls several functions, other parts of the brain are susceptible from the same trauma. A coma is a deep unconscious state from which one cannot be aroused. There is no reaction to one’s environment when in such a state, not even basic responses. The most common cause of coma is a heavy blow to the cranium. Recovery is based largely on causation....