Medical research

Developing next-generation soft hearing implants

Close to a half-million people around the world suffer from serious hearing impairments. In some cases, they cochlear and other types of implants have good results. Yet these devices do not help people whose inner ear is ...

Neuroscience

Rewriting the brain pathway for consciousness

With a finding that will "rewrite neuroanatomy textbooks," University of Iowa neurologist Aaron Boes, MD, Ph.D., and his colleagues show that the thalamus is not a critical part of the brain pathway involved in keeping humans ...

Neuroscience

Study explains behavioral reaction to painful experiences

Exposure to uncomfortable sensations elicits a wide range of appropriate and quick reactions, from reflexive withdrawal to more complex feelings and behaviors. To better understand the body's innate response to harmful activity, ...

Neuroscience

Paraplegic rats walk again after therapy, now we know why

With the help of robot-assisted rehabilitation and electrochemical spinal cord stimulation, rats with clinically relevant spinal cord injuries regained control of their otherwise paralyzed limbs. But how do brain commands ...

Neuroscience

High-speed locomotion neurons found in the brainstem

Think of taking a casual stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon or running at full speed to catch a bus for work on Monday morning as two extremes. Both forms of locomotion entail a perfect interplay between arms and legs, yet ...

Medical research

Key component of respiratory center identified

Star-shaped cells called astrocytes are much more than simple support cells in the brain. In a new study on mice, researchers at Karolinska Institutet demonstrate that they also play a key part in the respiratory centre of ...

Medical research

The veins in your brain don't all act the same

Certain blood vessels in the brainstem constrict when blood vessels elsewhere in the body would dilate. And that contrary behavior is what keeps us breathing, according to a new paper by UConn researchers published May 8 ...

Neuroscience

Neural connection keeps instincts in check

From fighting the urge to hit someone to resisting the temptation to run off stage instead of giving that public speech, we are often confronted with situations where we have to curb our instincts. Scientists at EMBL have ...

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Brainstem

In vertebrate anatomy the brainstem (or brain stem) is the posterior part of the brain, adjoining and structurally continuous with the spinal cord. The brain stem provides the main motor and sensory innervation to the face and neck via the cranial nerves. Though small, this is an extremely important part of the brain as the nerve connections of the motor and sensory systems from the main part of the brain to the rest of the body pass through the brain stem. This includes the corticospinal tract (motor), the posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway (fine touch, vibration sensation and proprioception) and the spinothalamic tract (pain, temperature, itch and crude touch). The brain stem also plays an important role in the regulation of cardiac and respiratory function. It also regulates the central nervous system, and is pivotal in maintaining consciousness and regulating the sleep cycle.

It is usually described as including the medulla oblongata (myelencephalon), pons (part of metencephalon), and midbrain (mesencephalon). Less frequently, parts of the diencephalon are included.

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