Note to readers: I have been unable to find a good publicly-available diagram of the brain that would illustrate most of the areas discussed in this section. The human brain is often characterized as consisting of a forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain consists of the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia, the limbic system, the thalamus, and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus interacts with the limbic system and is involved in the regulation of hunger, thirst, temperature, and emotion. The three main structures just described, the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain, evolved in different periods of human pre-history.
The human brain is a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) mass of jelly-like fats and tissues—yet it's the most complex of all known living structures. A rear view of the skull reveals the brain and the cervical spinal cord, which function together as the central nervous system.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques provide an extremely detailed, 3-D view of a living brain. Thanks to precision cutting techniques, researchers are able to examine a paper-thin slice of human brain. Skillful surgeons at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, remove a tumor from a woman's brain. A Baltimore, Maryland, epileptic patient performs tests designed to identify the source of his seizures. National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series. Get up close with some of the world's most fascinating underground communities, from gangs to cults to organized crime families. As the global population soars toward nine billion by 2045, this corner of Africa shows what's at stake in the decades ahead. Students who have access to a library can find a good brain diagram on p.53 of Robert Sternberg's book Cognitive Psychology, 5th international edition, published by Cengage.


These terms relate to the front-to-back arrangement of structures in the developing embryo, although during the course of development the positions change so that the forebrain is essentially sitting on top of the midbrain and hindbrain.
Another structure, the Reticular Activating System plays an important role in regulating consciousness, including sleep, waking, heartbeat, and breathing.
The medulla oblongata controls heartrate and is also involved in the control of breathing, swallowing, and digestion. In the womb, the development of these structures roughly corresponds to their evolutionary development. The following two videos show how you can use visual strategies to link structures and functions1. Up to one trillion nerve cells work together and coordinate the physical actions and mental processes that set humans apart from other species. The remarkable apparatus uses motor neurons to control the body's many muscles and enables humans to perform myriad physical activities. These nerve cells are interconnected, as shown in this microscopic image, so that they can transmit electrical impulses—and information—to other cells. The technique is critical for identifying abnormalities such as tumors, spotting the warning signs of some brain diseases, and revealing the extent of trauma from strokes. Surgeons can also cut living brains without fear of hurting their patients—the organ is incapable of feeling pain. Malignant tumors indicate often lethal brain conditions, but even nonmalignant growths can preempt normal brain activity. Surgeons placed electrodes in his brain that will record which parts of the organ become active when he performs a variety of physical and mental tasks. Other roles include involvement in the regulation of sleep and waking, and regulation of awareness.
The pons relays messages between different parts of the brain, in particular sensory messages between the cerebellum and cerebrum.
The hindbrain is the oldest part of the brain in evolutionary terms and the first to develop prenatally.


Not all structures are mentioned, but having watched these you might be able to invent your own memory links. Any tumor may compress regions of the brain and increase internal pressure, upsetting the organ's delicate functional balance.
In humans, the cortex is bunched up into convolutions which enables a greater area to be enclosed within the skull.
The cerebellum is involved in integrating sensory perception, and controls bodily coordination and balance. The midbrain evolved after the hindbrain and is the second structure to develop prenatally. The surface of the cortex consists of unmyelinated gray neurons, which is why this part of the brain is sometimes referred to as gray matter. The amygdala is involved in the processing of emotion, especially anger and aggression, and the septum is involved in anger and fear. Finally, the forebrain is the most recent evolutionary addition and is the last to develop prenatally. The interior of the brain consists of myelinated neurons that are referred to as white matter.
Note also that the oldest parts of the brain tend to deal with the most basic functions, such as breathing and heartrate, and they are the least susceptible to damage.
People who suffer brain damage, whether as a result of an external impact or from a stroke, often lose some cognitive function but nonetheless remain able to eat, sleep, and breath.
Damage to the hippocampus is associated with deficits in declarative memory, but not procedural memory.
In particular, hippocampal damage is associated with the inability to create new long-term declarative memories.



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