Brain Stem - Brain Stem The brainstem consists of the...

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Brain Stem The brainstem consists of the medulla, the pons and the midbrain. The activities of the brainstem may be divided into 3 general types : Conduit functions; Cranial nerve functions; integrative functions. Conduit Functions The conduit functions are apparent, since the only way for ascending tracts to reach the thalamus or cerebellum (or for descending tracts to reach the spinal cord) is through the brainstem. Many of these tracts, however, are not straight-through affairs , and relay nuclei in the brainstem are frequently involved. Cranial Nerve Functions The cranial nerves are the head's equivalent of spinal nerve fibers ; with the addition of special fibers involved in the special senses of olfaction , sight , hearing , equilibrium , and taste . A wide assortment of sensory and motor nuclei related to cranial nerve function can be found at various brainstem levels. Integrative Functions A number of integrative functions are organized at the level of the brainstem. These include complex motor patterns , aspects of respiratory and cardiovascular activity , and even some regulation of the level of consciousness . Much of this is accomplished by the reticular formation . Internal Structure of the Brainstem At any given brainstem level rostral to the obex , 3 general areas can be identified in cross section . The area posterior to the ventricular space; The area anterior to the ventricular space; And large structures "appended" to the anterior surface of the brainstem. Posterior to the Ventricular Space The midbrain is the only place where this part contains a substantial amount of neural tissue. This region of the midbrain is called the tectum (L. roof). It consists of the superior and inferior colliculi .
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In the pons and rostral medulla , the 4th ventricle is covered posteriorly by the superior and inferior medullary vela . Posterior to these, of course, is the
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This note was uploaded on 12/08/2011 for the course AMY 2A taught by Professor Jamesivey during the Spring '06 term at Riverside Community College.

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Brain Stem - Brain Stem The brainstem consists of the...

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