The National Institute of Neurological Disorders stated that the brain is the most complex part of the body(1). It is the source of all qualities that define one’s humanity. 

The brain controls thoughts, memory, speech, and arm and leg movements, including the functions of several other organs within the body(2).

Moreover, the brain determines how individuals respond to stressful situations, such as developing ailments, losing a job, taking a test, and giving birth.

The three main parts of the brain include the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem.


The cerebrum is the largest portion of the brain(3). The cerebral cortex (gray matter) is the outermost layer of the cerebrum.

Moreover, the cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres(4). The left hemisphere is involved in speech and abstract thinking, while the right hemisphere often controls spatial thinking and imagery.

Furthermore, the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere manages the right side(5). These hemispheres communicate with each other through the corpus colosseum, a thick tract of nerves(6)

The cerebrum is also involved in other functions, such as coordination of movement, learning, vision, reasoning, emotions, and problem-solving(7).

The brain’s hemispheres have four lobes(8). These include the frontal lobes, parietal lobes, occipital lobes, and temporal lobes.

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe is the biggest section of the brain(9). This lobe is involved in thinking, planning, problem-solving, short-term memory, and movement.

Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe is the brain’s middle part, which aids in identifying objects and understanding spatial relationships(10). This lobe is responsible for interpreting sensory messages, like taste, touch, and temperature. 

Occipital Lobe

Located at the back of the brain, the occipital lobe is involved in processing images from the eyes and linking information with images stored in one’s memory(11)

Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is located at the sides of the brain(12). This lobe is involved in processing information from one’s sense of smell, taste, and sound(13). Moreover, it is essential for memory storage.


Occupying the back of the brain, the cerebellum is involved in coordinating voluntary muscle movements and maintaining balance and posture(13). The cerebellum performs this function by controlling muscles’ tone and the limbs’ position(14).

The cerebellum is also essential when performing rapid and repetitive actions, like playing video games(15). Moreover, in the cerebellum, right-sided irregularities show symptoms on the same side of the body. 


The brainstem is what links the brain and the spinal cord(16). It is involved in several functions essential to life, including blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Moreover, the brainstem is vital for sleep.

The brainstem includes the midbrain, medulla, and pons.


The midbrain is the shortest part of the brain(17). It helps regulate various body functions, including eye and face movement and auditory and visual information processing.  


The most crucial part of the entire brain is the medulla oblongata(18). Located at the lowest part of the brainstem, it is involved in breathing control, heart rhythms, blood pressure, and swallowing(19).


The pons is responsible for coordinating eye and face movements, hearing, facial sensation, and balance(20). It is a deep part of the brain located in the brainstem. 

The Limbic System

The limbic system is composed of structures deep within the brain(21). These structures are responsible for controlling emotions and memories. Moreover, they come in pairs, with each part duplicated in the opposite half of the brain.


The thalamus serves as a gatekeeper for messages that pass between the cerebral hemisphere and the spinal cord(22). Pain sensation, temperature, and blood pressure are relayed through the thalamus(23).


Although relatively small in size, the hypothalamus is essential in different functions(24). These include heart rate control, the passage of food, and the contraction of the bladder.

Moreover, the hypothalamus helps translate emotions, like pleasure, excitement, and fear, into a physical response. The hypothalamus also controls urges, like eating or sleeping. 


The hippocampus is responsible for sending information to be stored in respective sections of the cerebrum and remembering those pieces of information when necessary(25).

How to Keep a Healthy Brain

While the body and brain may change as people age, there are ways to avoid memory decline and keep a healthy mind(26)

  1. Eat right. One’s diet is crucial in maintaining brain health. Choose plant-based food, whole grains, and healthy fats, like olive oil.
  2. Get enough sleep. Sleeping for seven to eight hours helps keep the brain healthy. This practice may also help clear abnormal proteins in the brain and boost memory.    
  3. Exercise regularly. Allot 30 to 60 minutes for exercise, like walking, playing, and swimming. Staying physically active decreases the chances of experiencing a decline in mental function.
  4. Remain mentally active. Engage in activities that help keep the brain in shape, such as playing crossword puzzles, reading, and playing cards.

Understanding the anatomy of the brain and following the tips above can help individuals protect their brains.

26 sources

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Know Your Brain. Retrieved from 
  2. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Anatomy of the Brain. Retrieved from 
  3. Mayo Clinic. Slide show: How your brain works. Retrieved from 
  4. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does the brain work? 2009 Oct 8 [Updated 2018 Oct 31]. Available from: 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain. Retrieved from 
  8. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  9. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Op Cit. 
  10. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  11. Ibid. 
  12. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Op Cit. 
  13. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  14. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Op Cit. 
  15. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Op Cit. 
  16. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  17. Vasković, J. (2020, Oct. 29). Midbrain (Mesencephalon). Retrieved from 
  18. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Op Cit. 
  19. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Op Cit. 
  20. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Op Cit. 
  21. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  22. Ibid. 
  23. Ackerman S. Discovering the Brain. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1992. 2, Major Structures and Functions of the Brain. Available from: 
  24. Ibid. 
  25. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit. 
  26. Mayo Clinic. (2020, Jun. 12). 5 tips to keep your brain healthy. Retrieved from   

Central sulcus (fissure of Rolando)

The central sulcus (fissure of Rolando) separates the frontal lobe (anterior) from the parietal lobe (posterior). The location of the central sulcus is made by finding the intersection of the superior frontal sulcus with the precentral sulcus on axial slices near the top: see figure 8. Reference • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS,

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This photo gallery presents the anatomy of Cerebellum by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). The cerebellum, Latin for “little brain,” is found at the base of the hindbrain or back of the brain. Findings showed that the cerebellum plays a vital role in maintaining balance, coordinating voluntary muscle movement, and

Cerebellum Read More

Cerebral Cisterns

This web page presents the anatomy of cisterns and subarachnoid spaces by means of MRI. Prepontine cistern Premedullary cistern Cerebellopontine cistern Cisterna magna Superior cerebellar cistern Interpeduncular cistern Ambient cistern Quadrigeminal cistern Suprasellar cistern What Are Cerebral Cisterns  Cisterns, commonly known as subarachnoid cisterns, are enlarged pockets of cerebrospinal fluid located in the subarachnoid

Cerebral Cisterns Read More

Cerebral hemispheres (overview)

The brain can be divided into left and right cerebral hemispheres. Each cerebral hemisphere is divided into six sections, called “lobes”: frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal and occipital lobe; plus two other that are not visible from outside: Insula and limbic lobe. To locate these different lobes of the brain, a 3D reconstruction was

Cerebral hemispheres (overview) Read More

Cerebral CT

This photo gallery presents the anatomical structures found on cerebral CT. Axial reconstructions Coronal reconstructions Sagittal reconstructions Axial reconstructions Image 1, cerebral CT, axial reconstruction. 1, Maxillary sinus (Right side). 2, Nasal septum. 3, Maxillary sinus (left side). 4, Nasopharynx. 5, External auditory meatus. 6, Foramen magnum. 7, Cerebellum. Image 2, cerebral CT, axial

Cerebral CT Read More

Caudate Nucleus

This photo gallery presents the anatomy of caudate nucleus by means of MRI (T1-weighted axial, sagittal and coronal views). The caudate nucleus (CN) plays a vital role in various higher neurological functions. The CN is a paired, C-shaped subcortical structure located deep inside the brain near the thalamus(1). Caudate nuclei contain a large anterior

Caudate Nucleus Read More


This photo gallery presents the anatomy of brainstem by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). Brainstem = Midbrain + Pons + Medulla [ image_slider ] The Brainstem The brainstem refers to the middle part of the brain(1). It consists of the medulla, pons, and midbrain. The brainstem helps relay sensory information,

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Lentiform nucleus

This photo gallery presents the anatomy of lentiform nucleus by means of MRI (T1-weighted axial and coronal views). Reference: • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and Surgical Imaging Anatomy: Brain, Head and Neck, Spine. 3rd ed. Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Lateral Ventricles

There are several areas in the lateral ventricle: the frontal horn, which is bounded by the caudate nucleus, Corpus callosum and septum pellucidum the body of the lateral ventricle is bounded by the caudate nucleus / thalamus, corpus callosum and fornix the atrium: this is the focal point of the occipital and temporal horns

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