Brain and Brainstem

File:Brain stem normal human
In addition, the pons is involved in the transmission of signals to and from other structures in the brain, such as the cerebrum or the cerebellum. The pons is also involved in sensations such as hearing, taste, and balance. Finally, the pons is also involved in the regulation of deep sleep.

Medulla Oblongata

The medulla oblongata is located in the lower portion of the brainstem. It is very important in things like heart rate and blood pressure. It's responsible for many reflexes in the body, or involuntarily controls, such as vomiting, sneezing, and coughing.

A brain stem stroke happens when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted in this area. This type of stroke can result in death, since the damaged brain stem can no longer control the body’s vital functions.

Involuntary Functions

Observed Problems

The brain stem contains the fibers which connect the brain to the spinal cord and cerebellum. Strokes within the brain stem may be localized by the pattern of deficits caused by the interruption of these nerves.

Brain stem strokes are often caused by mechanical obstruction of blood vessels, which might happen during a high speed chiropractic manipulation of the neck, or some other event that causes a very forceful neck movement, such as after a roller coaster ride. Vertigo (spinning) is a common early symptom of brain stem strokes.

A large stroke in the upper brain stem may sever the connections between the brain and the body. In such an instance, a person may retain consciousness and intelligent thought but become entirely paralyzed except for eye movements. This is called the locked-in syndrome.

Locked-in Syndrome

A condition resulting from interruption of motor pathways in the , usually by infarction. This disconnection of the motor cells in the lower brain stem and spinal cord from controlling signals issued by the brain leaves the patient completely paralyzed and mute, but able to receive and understand sensory stimuli to the thalamus.


A stroke affecting the brain stem is potentially life threatening since this area of the brain controls functions such as breathing and instructing the heart to beat. Brain stem stroke may also cause double vision, nausea and loss of coordination.


The thalamus is a small structure within the brain located just above the brain stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain and has extensive nerve connections to both.

It works to correlate several important processes, including consciousness, sleep, and sensory interpretation.

Cranial Nerves

The function of the cranial nerves is for the most part similar to the spinal nerves, the nerves that are associated with the spinal cord. Apart from sensory functions there are also some that work as motor nerves or mixed nerves.

Stroke Warning Signs

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  • In the process of playing Brainstem Edition: Every Body Has a Brain, children will:
  • Gain a new sense of wonder and appreciation for their brain.
  • Understand that the Brain Stem is the oldest part of the brain. The Brain Stem helps you breathe, swallow, blink, and more.
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  • Appreciate what an amazing and vital organ the human brain is.

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