The brain is considered the most complex organ in the human body and plays a vital role in controlling and coordinating our thoughts, emotions, movements, and bodily functions. So, it is most important to understand the anatomy of the brain, how it works, and how it influences our daily lives.
Before getting started, let’s start with an introduction to the brain. Shall we?
What Is the Brain?
The brain is a complex organ that is enclosed and protected by the skull and it controls everything that happens in the body. It is surrounded by a fluid called CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). CSF acts as a shock absorber, which protects the brain, carries nutrients to the brain, and removes waste from it. From breathing and heartbeat to emotions and hunger, the brain controls and regulates everything that happens in the body. Our body would not be able to function without the brain. The brain and spinal cord together, which extend from it, make up the CNS (Central Nervous System).
How is the brain made?
In the average adult, the brain weighs about 3 pounds. The brain is about 60% fat, and the remaining 40% is a combination of protein, water, carbohydrates, and salts. The brain itself is not a muscle, which contains blood vessels and nerves, including neurons and glial cells.
Head on to the blog to learn more about the major parts of the brain.
How Does the Brain Work?
- The brain functions through a complex network of neurons, which are specialized cells that help transmit information through electrical and chemical signals. These signals allow different areas of the brain to work and communicate together.
- When a stimulus is received (such as seeing a beautiful sunset), the visual information is processed by the occipital lobe at the back of the brain.
- Then, the information is transmitted to other areas, including the frontal lobe, where emotions and feelings will be experienced.
- The ability of the brain to process and store information is due to the presence of billions of neurons and their connections, known as synapses. These connections are being strengthened or weakened constantly, which forms neural pathways that build our thoughts, behaviors, and memories.
- Additionally, the brain relies on various neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which help regulate communication between neurons. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters will lead to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
The Structure of the Brain
The brain is divided into several main regions. Each region is responsible for different functions. The regions include:
Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain and is divided into two hemispheres and is mainly responsible for higher cognitive functions such as reasoning, language processing, and problem-solving.
Cerebellum: The cerebellum is situated at the back of the brain. It is responsible for coordinating balance, voluntary movement, and postures.
Brainstem: The brainstem connects the brain to the spinal cord. It controls basic functions that are needed for survival, such as breathing, digesting food, and heart rate.
Limbic System: The Limbic System regulates emotions, memory, and motivation, which are situated deep inside the brain.
Thalamus: Thalamus is in the middle of the brain, which is egg-shaped. It is also known as the relay station for all incoming motor and sensory information, which includes hearing, taste, sight, and touch (not smell) from your body to the brain.
Hypothalamus: It is structured deep within the brain. It’s the main link between your nervous system and the endocrine system. The hypothalamus keeps your body in a stable state called homeostasis.
Hippocampus: It is a complex brain structure embedded deep in the temporal lobe and plays a major role in learning and memory.
Amygdala: It is an almond-shaped structure that lies in the temporal lobe, lying just beneath the uncus. It is diverse and complex in structure and comprises nearly 13 nuclei. They were subdivided into extensive intranuclear and internuclear connections.
Basal Ganglia: The basal ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei primarily responsible for motor control as well as other activities such as executive functions, motor learning, behaviors, and emotions.
Cerebral cortex: The cerebral cortex is the outer layer and largest area of your brain that lies on top of the cerebrum. The cerebrum is divided into two halves, which are called hemispheres. The hemispheres are attached by nerve fibers called the corpus callosum.
How Many Brain Cells Do You Need to Live?
The human brain is an incredibly fascinating and complex organ that can control our thoughts, emotions, and bodily functions. It is composed of billions of cells, which are known as neurons, that work together to transmit electrical signals and enable communication within the brain.
What Is a Neuron?
The neuron is a specialized building block of the brain that is fundamental to the functioning of the nervous system. It is mainly responsible for receiving, processing, and transmitting information through chemical and electrical signals. It has a unique structure, which consists of a cell body, dendrites, and an axon.
Let’s have a look in detail
Cell Body: The cell body has the nucleus, which houses the genetic material and controls the activity of neurons.
Dendrites: Dendrites are branch-like structures that receive signals from other neurons and transmit them to the cell.
Axon: On the other hand, the axon is a long, slender projection that carries signals away from the cell body and transmits them to other neurons or target cells.
How do Neurons Help the Brain?
Neurons play a crucial role in the proper functioning of the brain. They form intricate pathways and networks that allow information to be processed and transmitted throughout the brain and nervous system.
Listed below are some of the key ways in which neurons help the brain:
Information Processing: Neurons receive signals from other neurons through their dendrites. These signals, which can be either excitatory or inhibitory, are integrated into the cell body. If the overall signal is strong enough, an electrical impulse called an action potential will be generated and travel down the axon.
Signal Transmission: The axon of a neuron is covered by a fatty substance called myelin. Myelin acts as an insulator and speeds up the transmission of electrical impulses. When an action potential reaches the end of an axon, it triggers the release of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
Communication Between Neurons: Neurotransmitters released by a neuron bind to receptors on the dendrites of other neighboring neurons which helps in transmitting the signals across the synapse. This process allows communication and coordination between different regions of the brain, which enables cognitive functions.
Learning and Plasticity: Neurons can adapt and change in response to experiences and learning. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to recognize its connections and strengthen or weaken synaptic connections, ultimately shaping our memories, skills, and behavior.
What Are The Three Types of Neurons?
Neurons, or nerve cells, are the cells that help transmit signals from one part of the body to the other. Neurons can be of three types, based on their function.
Neurons that carry sensations from the body to the brain are called sensory neurons or afferent neurons. The neuron consists of a cell body, axon, and dendrites.
Motor neurons (MNs) are neuronal cells that are located in the central nervous system (CNS) and can control a variety of downstream targets. There are two types of motor neurons, such as upper motor neurons and lower motor neurons. Upper motor neurons originate from the cerebral cortex, while lower motor neurons are located in the spinal cord and brainstem.
Interneurons coordinate between sensory neurons and spinal motors. These interneurons are found only in the CNS (Central Nervous System) and not in the peripheral areas. As well as transferring signals between motor neurons and sensory neurons, interneurons also communicate with each other, forming circuits of multiple levels of complexity.
I hope now you are clear about the anatomy of the brain and how it functions. Isn’t it fascinating? Yeah, do follow this webpage for more exciting health information.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. See you on the other side!