Neuroscience

Brainstem pathway modulates pain in placebo effect

It's not all in your head, but your expectations can sway your perception of pain intensity. Information about expectations—the driver of the placebo effect—travels from the cortex to groups of cells in the brainstem, ...

Neuroscience

Neuronal circuits for fine motor skills

Writing, driving a screw or throwing darts are only some of the activities that demand a high level of skill. How the brain masters such exquisite movements has now been described in the journal Nature by a team of researchers ...

Neuroscience

Brainstem neurons control both behaviour and misbehaviour

A recent study at the University of Helsinki reveals how gene control mechanisms define the identity of developing neurons in the brainstem. The researchers also showed that a failure in differentiation of the brainstem neurons ...

Medical research

Brainstem neurons control how mice turn left and right

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Karolinska Institutet have found neurons in the brain that control how mice turn left and right. The studdy was recently published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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 ...

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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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