The brain speaks to us when it is not well. Knowledge of basic brain anatomy is essential to decoding many of the signs and symptoms seen in illnesses and diseases. More importantly, we just need to open our minds and listen to what it is trying to tell us. While some messages are difficult to decode, many of the most common and important signs and symptoms are actually quite loud and clear. This section will cover some brain anatomy and it’s basic structures and functions.
The brain structures include the cerebrum, the brainstem and the cerebellum. The cerebrum consists of two hemispheres (sides). Within this there are seven lobes: two frontal, two parietal, two temporal and one occipital. The lobes of the cerebrum are like hard drives on a computer. The lobes are for stored programs and memory, as well as for processing sensory input from the environment. Other functions include: motor commands, motor planning, thought, personality, olfaction, sensation and sensory integration, auditory integration, visual processing, taste, drive, emotion and memory. The covering of the cerebrum is called the cerebral cortex.
The brainstem consists of the midbrain, pons and the medulla oblongata. The brainstem controls several functions including: alertness, arousal, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, as well as other autonomic functions.
The cerebellum consists of two hemispheres between which is a worm-like structure called the vermis. Each hemisphere has three major lobes. The cerebellum is involved with coordination of voluntary motor movements, balance and equilibrium, and muscle tone.