Brain

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.

Cerebrum

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.

Cerebellum

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.

Brainstem

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.

Midbrain

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.

Medulla

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).

Pons

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.

Thalamus

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).

Hypothalamus

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.

Hippocampus

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.


  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Know Your Brain. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Know-Your-Brain
  2. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Anatomy of the Brain. Retrieved from https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Anatomy-of-the-Brain
  3. Mayo Clinic. Slide show: How your brain works. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/brain/sls-20077047?s=2
  4. InformedHealth.org [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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279302/
  5. Ibid.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit.
  7. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Spine and Brain. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/magnetic-resonance-imaging-mri-of-the-spine-and-brain
  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 https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/midbrain-pons-gross-anatomy
  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: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234157/
  24. Ibid.
  25. Mayo Clinic. Op Cit.
  26. Mayo Clinic. (2020, Jun. 12). 5 tips to keep your brain healthy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/5-tips-to-keep-your-brain-healthy

References


The basal ganglia (or basal nuclei) is a group of subcortical nuclei found deep within the brain’s cerebral hemispheres or white matter(1). The subcortical structures form part of the extrapyramidal motor system and work with the pyramidal and limbic…
Reference Naidich TP, Daniels DL, Pech P, Haughton VM, Williams A, Pojunas K. Anterior commissure: anatomic-MR correlation and use as a landmark in three orthogonal planes. Radiology. 1986 Feb;158(2):421-9. Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore…
An “overview” of the brain anatomy is offered on this page. A review of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used as support. The anatomy of the brain is studied by means of axial, coronal and sagittal views. The MRI sequence used is a 3D…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of brainstem by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). Brainstem = Midbrain + Pons + Medulla The Brainstem The brainstem refers to the middle part of the brain(1). It consists of the…
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…
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…
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…
This photo gallery presents the anatomical structures found on cerebral CT. Cerebral Computed Tomography (CT) Cerebral computed tomography (CT) is a radiographic procedure that uses X-rays to produce medical images of the head, including the brain…
This web page presents the anatomy of cisterns and subarachnoid spaces by means of MRI. Premedullary cistern   Prepontine cistern   Cerebellopontine cistern   Cisterna magna     Superior cerebellar cistern   Interpeduncular cistern…
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…
Bibliographie: • 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. Amirsys. 2007.
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of corpus callosum by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). The corpus callosum, meaning “calloused body” in Latin, is a thick bundle of nerves that bridges the brain’s two cerebral…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of fornix by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). The fornix, which means “arch” in Latin, is a C-shaped bundle of white matter (nerve fibers) in the brain. The fornix is an essential…
The frontal lobe is located in the anterior part of the cerebral hemispheres: • Anterior to the parietal lobe. (The frontal lobe is separated from the parietal lobe by the central sulcus (of Rolando)). • Superior to the . (The frontal lobe is…
This page describes the path of the glossopharyngeal nerve with brain MRI (axial T1 and T2 weighted images). Bibliographie: • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and…
The hypothalamus is a portion of the brain near the third ventricle, located below the thalamus and above the brainstem. The anterior boundary of the hypothalamus is determined by the line connecting the anterior commissure, the lamina terminalis and…
The Insular lobe (nsula) is located in depth of Sylvian fissure. The cortex of the insula is covered by frontal operculum, parietal operculum and temporal operculum. The insula has five gyri. The Anatomy of the Insula The insular lobe or insula is…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of internal capsule 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…
Venous sinuses: locations on axial cuts (MRI of the brain after medium contrast administration) - Gallery 1 Venous sinuses: locations on sagittal and coronal slices (MRI of the brain after medium contrast administration) - Gallery 2 Venous sinuses of…
The lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure) separates the frontal lobe (superior) from the temporal lobe (inferior). The insula lobe is located in depth of the lateral sulcus and is covered by the cortex from the frontal lobe, temporal and parietal…
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…
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…
Gallery #1: Circle of Willis: AP view with rotations Gallery #2: Circle of Willis: lateral view with rotations These two photo galleries present the anatomy of Circle of Willis by means angio-MRI (Maximum Intensity Projection Time-Of-Flight). The…
This page describes the path of the oculomotor nerve with brain MRI (axial, coronal and sagittal T1-weighted images). Clinicians use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the imaging technique to diagnose ischemic vasculopathy, mass formation, or…
At the level of the cerebral hemisphere, gray matter is mainly distributed in the periphery (cortex) while the white matter is deep. However, there is gray matter in depth of the brain called basal ganglia. In the brainstem, gray matter is usually…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of pituitary gland by means of MRI (T2-weighted coronal views, T1-weighted sagittal and coronal views). The pituitary gland is a small gland that controls the body’s hormones(1). A pituitary MRI or magnetic…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of Medulla by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views).
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of midbrain by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views).
The Internal carotid artery divides into middle cerebral artery and anterior cerebral artery. The middle cerebral artery travels to the lateral fissure. The middle cerebral artery is divided into 4 parts: M1 segment, horizontal, from the internal…
The parietal lobe is located in the upper part of the cerebral hemispheres: • posterior to the frontal lobe • superior to the temporal lobe • the parietal lobe is partially separated from the temporal lobe by the Sylvian fissure (lateral sulcus…
Parietooccipital sulcus separates partially the parietal lobe from occipital lobe in his medial part. Parietooccipital sulcus delimits the precuneus (parietal lobe) from the cuneus (occipital lobe). Bibliographie: • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of pineal gland by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views). Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of Pons by means of MRI (T1-weighted sagittal, axial and coronal views).
The posterior cerebral arteries arise from the division of Basilar artery. The posterior cerebral arteries end above the tentorium, in the calcarine sulcus. Posterior cerebral artery is divided into 4 parts: P1 segment courses from the basilar artery…
Gyrus (plural gyri) is a ridge on the cerebral cortex. Sulcus (plural sulci) is a groove that separates gyri. The cerebral hemispheres are separated by a median cleft: the inherhemispheric fissure (great longitudinal fissure). The falx cerebri…
The temporal lobe is located in the lower part of the cerebral hemispheres: • Inferior to the frontal lobe and parietal lobe. The temporal lobe is separated from the frontal lobe by the lateral sulcus (or Sylvian fissure). • Anterior to the occipital…
This photo gallery presents the anatomy of thalamus by means of MRI (T1-weighted axial, sagittal and coronal views). Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins RH. Diagnostic and Surgical…
The Internal carotid artery divides into middle cerebral artery and anterior cerebral artery. The anterior cerebral artery enters the longitudinal interhemispheric fissure of the brain. The anterior communicating artery connects right anterior…
The occipital lobe is located in the posterior part of the cerebral hemispheres: • posterior to the temporal lobe and parietal lobe • the occipital lobe is partially separated from the parietal lobe by the parietooccipital fissure. • In addition…
This page describes the path of the trigeminal nerve with brain MRI (axial, coronal and sagittal T1- and T2- weighted images). Bibliographie: • Harnsberger HR, Osborn AG, Ross JS, Moore KR, Salzman KL, Carrasco CR, Halmiton BE, Davidson HC, Wiggins…
The ventricular system consists of: • two lateral ventricles • the third ventricle • the fourth ventricle. The lateral ventricle communicates with the third ventricle by the interventricular foramen or foramen of Monro. The third ventricle is in…

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