Disease Seminar Handbook W12

The parietal lobe which sits behind the frontal lobe

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Unformatted text preview: . Neurons survive and function with the help and support of glial cells, the other main type of cell in the brain. Glial cells hold neurons in place (think of glial cells like glue!), provide them with nutrients, rid the brain of damaged cells and other cellular debris, and provide insulation to neurons in the brain and spinal cord. In fact, the brain has many more glial cells than neurons—some scientists estimate even 10 times as many. Another essential feature of the brain is its enormous network of blood vessels. Even though the brain is only about 2 percent of the body’s weight, it receives 20 percent of the body’s blood supply. Billions of tiny capillaries carry oxygen, glucose (the brain’s principal source of energy), nutrients, and hormones to brain cells so they can do their work. Capillaries also carry away waste products. The brain has many parts, each of which is responsible for particular functions. The following section describes a few key structures and what they do. For a 3 D view of the brain and its parts, check out: http://www.g2conline.org/ and click on the 3 ­D brain link in the top right hand corner. 10 The main players 1) Two cerebral hemispheres account for 85% of the brain’s weight. The billions of neurons in the two hemispheres are connected by thick bundles of nerve cell fibers called the corpus callosum. Scientists now think that the two hemispheres differ not so much in what they do (the “logical versus artistic” notion), but in how they process information. The left hemisphere appears to focus on details (such as recognizing a particular face in a crowd). The right hemisphere focuses on broad background (such as understanding the relative position of objects in a space). The cerebral hemispheres have an outer layer called the cerebral cortex. This is where the brain processes sensory information received from the outside world, controls voluntary movement, and regulates cognitive functions, such as thinking, learning, speaking, remembering, and making decisions. The hemispheres have four lobes, each of which has different roles: • The frontal lobe, which is in the front of the brain, controls executive function activities like thinking, organizing, planning, and problem solving, as well as memory, attention and movement. • The parietal lobe, which sits behind the frontal lobe, deals with the perception and integration of stimuli from the senses. • The occipital lobe, which is at the back of the brain, is concerned with vision. • The temporal lobe, which runs along the side of the brain under the frontal and parietal lobes, deals with the senses of smell, taste, and sound, and the formation and storage of mem...
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