Human brain

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Signals from here influence the vasomotor centre to adjust vein and artery constriction accordingly. The brain controls the rate of breathing , mainly by respiratory centres in the medulla and pons. This is a mixed nerve that carries sensory information back to the centres. There are four respiratory centres, three with a more clearly defined function, and an apneustic centre with a less clear function.

In the medulla a dorsal respiratory group causes the desire to breathe in and receives sensory information directly from the body. Also in the medulla, the ventral respiratory group influences breathing out during exertion. In the pons the pneumotaxic centre influences the duration of each breath, [86] and the apneustic centre seems to have an influence on inhalation.

The respiratory centres directly senses blood carbon dioxide and pH. Information about blood oxygen , carbon dioxide and pH levels are also sensed on the walls of arteries in the peripheral chemoreceptors of the aortic and carotid bodies. This information is passed via the vagus and glossopharyngeal nerves to the respiratory centres. High carbon dioxide, an acidic pH, or low oxygen stimulate the respiratory centres.

The hypothalamus in the diencephalon , is involved in regulating many functions of the body. Functions include neuroendocrine regulation, regulation of the circadian rhythm , control of the autonomic nervous system , and the regulation of fluid, and food intake. The circadian rhythm is controlled by two main cell groups in the hypothalamus. The anterior hypothalamus includes the suprachiasmatic nucleus and the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus which through gene expression cycles, generates a roughly 24 hour circadian clock.

In the circadian day an ultradian rhythm takes control of the sleeping pattern. Sleep is an essential requirement for the body and brain and allows the closing down and resting of the body's systems.

There are also findings that suggest that the daily build-up of toxins in the brain are removed during sleep. Sleep necessarily reduces this use and gives time for the restoration of energy-giving ATP.

The effects of sleep deprivation show the absolute need for sleep. The lateral hypothalamus contains orexinergic neurons that control appetite and arousal through their projections to the ascending reticular activating system. Through the autonomic projections, the hypothalamus is involved in regulating functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, sweating, and other homeostatic mechanisms.

The hypothalamus is influenced by the kidneys — when blood pressure falls, the renin released by the kidneys stimulates a need to drink. The hypothalamus also regulates food intake through autonomic signals, and hormone release by the digestive system. While language functions were traditionally thought to be localized to Wernicke's area and Broca's area , [93] it is now mostly accepted that a wider network of cortical regions contributes to language functions.

The study on how language is represented, processed, and acquired by the brain is called neurolinguistics , which is a large multidisciplinary field drawing from cognitive neuroscience , cognitive linguistics , and psycholinguistics.

The cerebrum has a contralateral organisation with each hemisphere of the brain interacting primarily with one half of the body: The developmental cause for this is uncertain. Visual input follows a more complex rule: The left and right sides of the brain appear symmetrical, but they function asymmetrically. There are, however, several important exceptions, involving language and spatial cognition. The left frontal lobe is dominant for language.

If a key language area in the left hemisphere is damaged, it can leave the victim unable to speak or understand, [] whereas equivalent damage to the right hemisphere would cause only minor impairment to language skills.

A substantial part of current understanding of the interactions between the two hemispheres has come from the study of " split-brain patients"—people who underwent surgical transection of the corpus callosum in an attempt to reduce the severity of epileptic seizures. Emotions are generally defined as two-step multicomponent processes involving elicitation , followed by psychological feelings, appraisal, expression, autonomic responses, and action tendencies. The amygdala , orbitofrontal cortex , mid and anterior insula cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex , appeared to be involved in generating the emotions, while weaker evidence was found for the ventral tegmental area , ventral pallidum and nucleus accumbens in incentive salience.

The brain is responsible for cognition , [] [] which functions through numerous processes and executive functions. The prefrontal cortex plays a significant role in mediating executive functions.

Brain activity is made possible by the interconnections of neurons that are linked together to reach their targets. Dendrites are often extensive branches that receive information in the form of signals from the axon terminals of other neurons. The signals received may cause the neuron to initiate an action potential an electrochemical signal or nerve impulse which is sent along its axon to the axon terminal, to connect with the dendrites or with the cell body of another neuron.

An action potential is initiated at the initial segment of an axon, which contains a complex of proteins. The brain can also utilize lactate during exercise. However, short-chain fatty acids e. The function of sleep is not fully understood; however, there is evidence that sleep enhances the clearance of metabolic waste products, some of which are potentially neurotoxic , from the brain and may also permit repair.

The brain is not fully understood, and research is ongoing. The boundaries between the specialties of neuroscience , neurology and other disciplines such as psychiatry have faded as they are all influenced by basic research in neuroscience. Neuroscience research has expanded considerably in recent decades. The " Decade of the Brain ", an initiative of the United States Government in the s, is considered to have marked much of this increase in research, [] and was followed in by the BRAIN Initiative.

Information about the structure and function of the human brain comes from a variety of experimental methods, including animals and humans. Information about brain trauma and stroke has provided information about the function of parts of the brain and the effects of brain damage. Neuroimaging is used to visualise the brain and record brain activity. Electrophysiology is used to measure, record and monitor the electrical activity of the cortex.

Measurements may be of local field potentials of cortical areas, or of the activity of a single neuron.

An electroencephalogram can record the electrical activity of the cortex using electrodes placed non-invasively on the scalp. Invasive measures include electrocorticography , which uses electrodes placed directly on the exposed surface of the brain. This method is used in cortical stimulation mapping , used in the study of the relationship between cortical areas and their systemic function. This has enabled the linking of brain activity to behaviour, and the creation of neuronal maps. Functional neuroimaging techniques show changes in brain activity that relate to the function of specific brain areas.

One technique is functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI which has the advantages over earlier methods of SPECT and PET of not needing the use of radioactive materials and of offering a higher resolution. These methods rely on the haemodynamic response that shows changes in brain activity in relation to changes in blood flow , useful in mapping functions to brain areas. Any electrical current generates a magnetic field; neural oscillations induce weak magnetic fields, and in functional magnetoencephalography the current produced can show localised brain function in high resolution.

Connectograms give a graphical representation of the neural connections of the brain. Differences in brain structure can be measured in some disorders, notably schizophrenia and dementia. Different biological approaches using imaging have given more insight for example into the disorders of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A key source of information about the function of brain regions is the effects of damage to them.

Advances in neuroimaging have enabled objective insights into mental disorders, leading to faster diagnosis, more accurate prognosis, and better monitoring. Bioinformatics is a field of study that includes the creation and advancement of databases, and computational and statistical techniques, that can be used in studies of the human brain, particularly in the areas of gene and protein expression.

Bioinformatics and studies in genomics , and functional genomics , generated the need for DNA annotation , a transcriptome technology , identifying genes , and their and location and function. As of , just under 20, protein-coding genes are seen to be expressed in the human, [] and some of these genes are brain-specific.

The long term use of alcohol for example, has shown altered gene expression in the brain, and cell-type specific changes that may relate to alcohol use disorder. Other related studies have also shown evidence of synaptic alterations and their loss, in the ageing brain. Changes in gene expression alter the levels of proteins in various pathways and this has been shown to be evident in synaptic contact dysfunction or loss. This dysfunction has been seen to affect many structures of the brain and has a marked effect on inhibitory neurons resulting in a decreased level of neurotransmission, and subsequent cognitive decline and disease.

Brain damage or injury to the brain can manifest in many ways. Traumatic brain injury , for example received in contact sport , after a fall , or a traffic or work accident , can be associated with both immediate and longer-term problems. Immediate problems may include bleeding within the brain , this may compress the brain tissue or damage its blood supply. Bruising to the brain may occur. Bruising may cause widespread damage to the nerve tracts that can lead to a condition of diffuse axonal injury.

In addition to the site of injury, the opposite side of the brain may be affected, termed a contrecoup injury. Longer-term issues that may develop include posttraumatic stress disorder , and hydrocephalus.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy can develop following multiple head injuries. Neurodegenerative diseases result in progressive damage to different parts of the brain's function, and worsen with age. Common examples include dementia such as Alzheimer's disease , alcoholic dementia or vascular dementia ; Parkinson's disease ; and other rarer infectious, genetic, or metabolic causes such as Huntington's disease , motor neuron diseases , HIV dementia , syphilis-related dementia and Wilson's disease.

Neurodegenerative diseases can affect different parts of the brain, and can affect movement, memory, and cognition. The brain, although protected by the blood—brain barrier, can be affected by infections including viruses , bacteria and fungi.

Infection may be of the meninges meningitis , the brain matter encephalitis , or within the brain matter such as a cerebral abscess. Brain tumours can be either benign or cancerous. Most malignant tumours arise from another part of the body , most commonly from the lung , breast and skin. Meningioma , cancer of the meninges around the brain, is more common than cancers of brain tissue.

A variety of other tests including blood tests and lumbar puncture may be used to investigate for the cause of the cancer and evaluate the type and stage of the cancer. Surgery may be considered, however given the complex nature of many tumours or based on tumour stage or type, radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be considered more suitable.

Mental disorders , such as major depressive disorder , schizophrenia , bipolar disorder , post-traumatic stress disorder , attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , Tourette syndrome , and addiction , are known to relate to the functioning of the brain.

Epileptic seizures are thought to relate to abnormal electrical activity. In a person with epilepsy , risk factors for further seizures may include sleeplessness, drug and alcohol intake, and stress. Seizures may be assessed using blood tests , EEG and various medical imaging techniques based on the medical history and exam findings. Some brain disorders such as Tay—Sachs disease [] are congenital , [] and linked to genetic and chromosomal mutations.

A stroke is a decrease in blood supply to an area of the brain causing cell death and brain injury. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms , including the " FAST " symptoms of facial droop, arm weakness, and speech difficulties including with speaking and finding words or forming sentences. Difficulties with movement, speech, or sight usually relate to the cerebrum, whereas imbalance , double vision , vertigo and symptoms affecting more than one side of the body usually relate to the brainstem or cerebellum.

Most strokes result from loss of blood supply, typically because of an embolus , rupture of a fatty plaque or narrowing of small arteries. Strokes can also result from bleeding within the brain. Some treatments for stroke are time-critical. These include clot dissolution or surgical removal of a clot for ischaemic strokes , and decompression for haemorrhagic strokes.

Having experienced a stroke, a person may be admitted to a stroke unit , and treatments may be directed as preventing future strokes, including ongoing anticoagulation such as aspirin or clopidogrel , antihypertensives , and lipid-lowering drugs.

Brain death refers to an irreversible total loss of brain function. When brain death is suspected, reversible differential diagnoses such as hypothermia -induced coma, electrolyte, neurological and drug-related cognitive suppression need to be excluded. Neuroanthropology is the study of the relationship between culture and the brain. It explores how the brain gives rise to culture, and how culture influences brain development. The philosophy of the mind studies such issues as the problem of understanding consciousness and the mind—body problem.

The relationship between the brain and the mind is a significant challenge both philosophically and scientifically. This is because of the difficulty in explaining how mental activities, such as thoughts and emotions, can be implemented by physical structures such as neurons and synapses , or by any other type of physical mechanism.

This difficulty was expressed by Gottfried Leibniz in the analogy known as Leibniz's Mill:. One is obliged to admit that perception and what depends upon it is inexplicable on mechanical principles, that is, by figures and motions. In imagining that there is a machine whose construction would enable it to think, to sense, and to have perception, one could conceive it enlarged while retaining the same proportions, so that one could enter into it, just like into a windmill.

Supposing this, one should, when visiting within it, find only parts pushing one another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Doubt about the possibility of a mechanistic explanation of thought drove René Descartes , and most other philosophers along with him, to dualism: There is clear empirical evidence that physical manipulations of, or injuries to, the brain for example by drugs or by lesions, respectively can affect the mind in potent and intimate ways.

The size of the brain and a person's intelligence are not strongly related. Other animals, including whales and elephants have larger brains than humans.

However, when the brain-to-body mass ratio is taken into account, the human brain is almost twice as large as that of a bottlenose dolphin , and three times as large as that of a chimpanzee. However, a high ratio does not of itself demonstrate intelligence: Research has disproved some common misconceptions about the brain. These include both ancient and modern myths. It is not true that neurons are not replaced after the age of two; nor that only ten per cent of the brain is used.

Akio Mori coined the term game brain for the unreliably supported theory that spending long periods playing video games harmed the brain's pre-frontal region and the expression of emotion and creativity.

Historically, the brain featured in popular culture through phrenology , a pseudoscience that assigned personality attributes to different regions of the cortex. The cortex remains important in popular culture as covered in books and satire. The Edwin Smith Papyrus , an ancient Egyptian medical treatise written in the 17th century BC, contains the earliest recorded reference to the brain.

The hieroglyph for brain, occurring eight times in this papyrus, describes the symptoms, diagnosis, and prognosis of two traumatic injuries to the head. The papyrus mentions the external surface of the brain, the effects of injury including seizures and aphasia , the meninges, and cerebrospinal fluid.

Aristotle , in his biology initially believed the heart to be the seat of intelligence , and saw the brain as a cooling mechanism for the blood. He reasoned that humans are more rational than the beasts because, among other reasons, they have a larger brain to cool their hot-bloodedness.

Their works are now mostly lost, and we know about their achievements due mostly to secondary sources. Some of their discoveries had to be re-discovered a millennium after their deaths. He concluded that, as the cerebellum was denser than the brain, it must control the muscles , while as the cerebrum was soft, it must be where the senses were processed.

Galen further theorized that the brain functioned by movement of animal spirits through the ventricles. In , Mondino de Luzzi 's Anathomia began the modern study of brain anatomy. René Descartes proposed the theory of dualism to tackle the issue of the brain's relation to the mind.

He suggested that the pineal gland was where the mind interacted with the body after recording the brain mechanisms responsible for circulating cerebrospinal fluid.

Thomas Willis is considered a second pioneer in the study of neurology and brain science. In in Cerebri Anatome Latin: Anatomy of the brain , [c] followed by Cerebral Pathology in In these he described the structure of the cerebellum, the ventricles, the cerebral hemispheres, the brainstem, and the cranial nerves, studied its blood supply; and proposed functions associated with different areas of the brain.

In the late 19th century, Emil du Bois-Reymond and Hermann von Helmholtz , following the work of their teacher Johannes Peter Müller showed the electrical inpulses which pass along nerves; but unlike Müller's views, that such impulses were able to be observed.

Studies of the brain became more sophisticated with the use of the microscope and the development of a silver staining method by Camillo Golgi during the s. This was able to show the intricate structures of single neurons. He used microscopy to uncover many cell types, and proposed functions for the cells he saw. Charles Sherrington published his influential work The Integrative Action of the Nervous System examining the function of reflexes, evolutionary development of the nervous system, functional specialisation of the brain, and layout and cellular function of the central nervous system.

Schmitt , and Stephen Kuffler playing critical roles in establishing the field. The word neuroscience itself arises from this program. Paul Broca associated regions of the brain with specific functions, in particular language in Broca's area , following work on brain-damaged patients.

Carl Wernicke described a region associated with language comprehension and production. Korbinian Brodmann divided regions of the brain based on the appearance of cells. Harvey Cushing — is recognised as the first proficient brain surgeon in the world. The human brain has many properties that are common to all vertebrate brains.

As a primate brain, the human brain has a much larger cerebral cortex, in proportion to body size, than most mammals, [] and a highly developed visual system. As a hominid brain, the human brain is substantially enlarged even in comparison to the brain of a typical monkey. The sequence of human evolution from Australopithecus four million years ago to Homo sapiens modern humans was marked by a steady increase in brain size.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 14 September This article is about the human brain. For information about brains in general, see Brain. List of regions in the human brain and Outline of the human brain.

Neuroscience of sex differences. Structural and functional areas of the human brain. Human brain bisected in the sagittal plane , showing the white matter of the corpus callosum. Functional areas of the human brain.

Dashed areas shown are commonly left hemisphere dominant. Cerebrum and Cerebral cortex. Neural development in humans. Human brain development timeline. Brain of human embryo at 4. Brain interior at 5 weeks.

Brain viewed at midline at 3 months. Language processing in the brain. Lateralization of brain function. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. List of neuroscience databases. Drawing of the base of the brain, from Andreas Vesalius 's work De humani corporis fabrica. One of Leonardo da Vinci 's sketches of the human skull. Drawing by Camillo Golgi of vertical section of rabbit hippocampus , from his "Sulla fina anatomia degli organi centrali del sistema nervoso", Drawing of cells in chick cerebellum by Santiago Ramón y Cajal , from "Estructura de los centros nerviosos de las aves", Madrid, Evolution of the brain.

Neuroscience portal Thinking portal. Archived from the original on October 24, Retrieved October 24, Archived from the original on October 2, The Journal of Neuroscience. Neurosurg Focus 56 2: Archived from the original on October 1, Archived from the original on November 7, Principles of Neural Science. Retrieved January 25, Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. W B Saunders Co. The Journal of Comparative Neurology. Here we determine these numbers by using the isotropic fractionator and compare them with the expected values for a human-sized primate.

We find that the adult male human brain contains on average Explicit use of et al. Archived from the original on September 12, Archived from the original on February 19, Archived from the original on October 30, Current Understanding, Significance and Controversy". According to this model, cerebrospinal fluid CSF enters the paravascular spaces surrounding penetrating arteries of the brain, mixes with interstitial fluid ISF and solutes in the parenchyma, and exits along paravascular spaces of draining veins.

By measuring the lactate concentration in the brains and cervical lymph nodes of awake and sleeping mice, Lundgaard et al. Their analysis took advantage of the substantiated hypothesis that glymphatic function is promoted during sleep Xie et al. Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects 6th ed. Langman's medical embryology 11th ed.

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From Cells to Systems. Introduction to Brain and Behavior Loose-Leaf. The Cambridge handbook of human affective neuroscience 1. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. This type of starch is called resistant starch, and it actually functions much like soluble fiber. And as I showed you earlier, many studies in humans show that resistant starch can have powerful health benefits such as:. The main reason why resistant starch works so well, is that it functions like soluble, fermentable fiber, passing through your digestive system undigested, eventually reaching the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut.

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