The brain is an organ that’s made up of a large mass of nerve tissue that’s protected within the skull. It plays a role in just about every major body system.
Some of its main functions include:
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It’s divided into two halves, called hemispheres. The two hemispheres are separated by a groove called the interhemispheric fissure. It’s also called the longitudinal fissure.
Each hemisphere of the cerebrum is divided into broad regions called lobes. Each lobe is associated with different functions:
The cerebellum is located in the back of the brain, just below the occipital lobes. It’s involved with fine motor skills, which refers to the coordination of smaller, or finer, movements, especially those involving the hands and feet. It also helps the body maintain its posture, equilibrium, and balance.
The diencephalon is located at the base of the brain. It contains the:
The thalamus acts as a kind of relay station for signals coming into the brain. It’s also involved in consciousness, sleep, and memory.
The epithalamus serves as a connection between the limbic system and other parts of the brain. The limbic system is a part of the brain that’s involved with emotion, long-term memory, and behavior.
The hypothalamus helps maintain homeostasis. This refers to the balance of all bodily functions. It does this by:
The brain stem is located in front of the cerebellum and connects to the spinal cord. It consists of three major parts:
Use this interactive 3-D diagram to explore the brain.
The brain is one of your most important body parts, so it’s important to know how to recognize signs that there may be a problem.
Brain injury symptoms depend on the type and severity of the injury. While they sometimes appear immediately after a traumatic event, they can also show up hours or days later.
General brain injury symptoms may include:
Symptoms tend to come on suddenly and include:
Brain tumor symptoms depend on the size, location, and type of tumor.
General brain tumor symptoms may include:
Neurodegenerative diseases cause damage to nervous tissue over time, so their symptoms may get worse as time goes on.
General neurodegenerative symptoms include:
Symptoms of psychological conditions can be very different from person to person, even when they involve the same condition.
Some general symptoms of a psychological condition include:
Follow these tips to keep your brain in good health and to reduce your risk of certain brain conditions:
Improve your mental fitness by regularly reading, learning, or doing activities that make you think, such as crossword puzzles. All of these help stimulate your nerve cells, and may even lead to the development of new brain cells.
Always wear a helmet when playing contact sports. Be sure to buckle up when you get in the car. Both of these can go a long way when it comes to avoiding brain injuries.
Doing regular cardio workouts stimulates blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.
While smoking is bad for your overall health, it can also lead to cognitive decline.
Try to check in from time to time with your thoughts or feelings. Keeping a diary is a good way to get into this habit. Look for any thought patterns or emotions that seem to be impacting your day-to-day life. They could be a sign of an underlying, treatable psychological condition.
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