The brain is an extremely fundamental organ in all vertebrates and most invertebrates. It is considered to be the most complex organ of the human body. The brain is responsible for coordination of the qualities that define humanity. It for example deals with matters of intelligence, interpretation of the senses, facilitation of body movement as well as controlling human behavior. The brain plays a great role in giving meaning to things that happen around us through its various fundamental functions. Through the five senses (smell, touch, sight, taste and hearing), the brain receives messages that direct our behavior and actions. The messages could also be stored in the memory for use in future (Bell 12). As an organized structure, the brain is divided into different parts each serving significant function(s). This piece of work gives a critical analysis of the anatomy of the brain.
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The Brain Anatomy
The anatomy of the brain is a complex concept that is difficult to understand. This is more so due to its complicated structure and function. It acts as a center in which controlled activities are carried out. This is mainly achieved through the processes of receiving, interpretation, and directing of sensory information in the whole body.
The brain is divided into diverse parts that are charged with different significant functions. The individual functions are combined in a systematic manner to bring about an absolute success in the functioning of the brain as a whole. Some of the basic parts of the brain include the cerebral cortex lobes namely; the temporal lobes, the frontal lobes, the occipital lobes, the parietal lobes, the prefrontal cortex, and the limbic system. The brain could also be divided into three major parts namely; the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain.
The Frontal Lobes
The frontal lobes are responsible for body processes such as planning, movement, problem solving, and decision making among others. The frontal lobes are divided into three main parts include, the premotor area, the motor area, and the prefrontal cortex. The general functions of the frontal lobes include; reasoning, memory, motor functioning, planning, and judgment as well as impulse control (Mercier, Kitasako and Hatton 170).
The Prefrontal Cortex System
This is considered to be the most evolved brain system. It is the core part of the frontal lobes of the brain. It plans intricate cognitive behaviors, decision making, personality expression as well as shaping social behavior. Other functions involve impulse control, judgment, critical and forward thinking, allowing one to learn from experience and mistakes, perseverance, and problem solving among others. It works interdependently with the other parts of the brain.
Some of the problems associated with the prefrontal cortex include short attention span, impulse control problems, misperceptions, social and test anxiety, inability to persevere, procrastination, poor judgment, short term memory problems, hyperactivity, difficulty in learning from experience, and chronic lateness among others.
The premotor and motor areas on the other hand play a great role in the control of execution of voluntary and involuntary muscle movement. This is made possible due to the presence of nerves. While the motor is in charge of making movements, the premotor is responsible for selecting movements, coordinating the motor sequences as well as choosing managing behavior (Mercier, Kitasako and Hatton 183).
The Temporal Lobes
The temporal lobes form a critical part of the cerebral cortex. Structures associated with the limbic system are contained in the temporal lobes. They include the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the olfactory cortex. These lobes are involved with functions such as speech and language coordination, visual perception, memory management, auditory perception, and emotional responses (Mercier, Kitasako and Hatton 173).
The Occipital Lobes
These lobes are located at the back part of the cerebral cortex. They are mainly involved with visual processing in conjunction with the posterior segments of the temporal lobes and parietal lobes. This function is made possible due to the presence of the primary visual cortex within the occipital lobes. It is responsible for the reception of visual input from the retina after which the occipital lobes interpret the visual signals to provide meaning. The major functions of the occipital lobes are color recognition and visual perception (Willis 74).
The Parietal Lobes
The parietal lobes are subdivided into the anterior parietal lobe, the superior parietal lobe, and the inferior parietal lobe. The parietal lobes are responsible for the following functions in the body; Information processing, pain and touch sensation, cognition, visual perception, speech, and spatial orientation, visual guidance of different parts of the body for instance the hands, eyes and head, directing movement in space, distinguishing left from right and detecting and respondingto stimuli in space (Bell 36).
The Limbic System
The limbic system is an extremely crucial part of the brain. Some of the functions executed by the limbic system include setting the emotional tone of the mind, modulating motivation, processing the sense of smell, storage of highly charged emotional memories, enhancing bonding among individuals, modulating libido, coordinating sleep cycles and appetite as well as emotional coloring. Some of the structures that enable the above named functions include the amyqdala, the hippocampus, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, fornix, cingulate Gyrus, and the olfactory cortex.
Amyqdala is responsible for processing reflexive emotions such as fear, memory and learning while Hippocampus assists in formation of long-term memories. Fornix joins the hippocampus to other parts of the limbic system while the Thalamus acts as a relay station between the cortex and the senses. The Hypothalamus is responsible for directing various functions, for example, hunger and temperature. Cinqulate Gyrus on the other hand processes conscious emotional experience. The Olfactory cortex is involved with recognition of odors through synthesis of the sensory information it receives from the olfactory bulb (Mercier, Kitasako and Hatton 174).
The brain could also be discussed in terms of the major subdivisions; the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain. These subdivisions play different roles, which when combined make the brain a successful and efficient organ (Bell 42).
The forebrain plays major fundamental roles in the body. Some of them include reception and processing of sensory information, thinking and perception, coordination of language and the control of the motor system. The forebrain is divided into the telencephalon and the diencephalon. The telencephalon contains the cerebrum from which major information processing takes place; at the cerebral cortex. The diencephalon on the other hand carries out functions such as transmission of sensory information and motor control. This is made possible through structures such as hypothalamus and thalamus (Willis 22).
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The brainstem is made up of a combination of the midbrain and the hindbrain. The midbrain entails the part of the brainstem that joins the forebrain and the hindbrain. The major functions of the midbrain involve motor function, visual response, and auditory response (Mercier, Kitasako and Hatton 186).
The hindbrain is also a crucial component of the brain. It comprises of the mycencephalon and mentencephalon. Mycencephalon contains a crucial part, medulla oblongata, which plays a great role in controlling different autonomic functions such as digestions, breathing, and heart rate. The mentencephalon on the other hand is responsible for allowing for balance and equilibrium, conduction of the sensory information as well as coordination of various movements. This is made possible due to the presence of cerebellum and the pons that play significant roles (Willis 27).
From the above discussion, it is evident that the brain is an incredibly essential part of the body. It acts as a processor and coordinates various aspects at once. It is charged with a variety of functions that in one way or the other helps us to be human and thus understand and appreciate what happens around us. This is clear even from the brain’s basic functions, for instance, controlling and coordinating our actions and reactions, enhancing thinking and feeling of various aspects as well as allowing us to have memories and emotions. The anatomy is complex and requires a lot of attention to capture the different aspects that surround it. Most of the parts share responsibilities and are therefore dependent on each other. Proper care should be given to the brain; for instance, avoiding injuries to ensure that there is proper functioning of the brain and the body as a whole.
Bell, Charles. The anatomy of the brain: explained in a series of engravings. New York: T.N. Longman and O. Rees, 2009. Print
Mercier, Frederic, Kitasako, John, and Hatton Glenn. Anatomy of the brain neurogenic zones revisited: Fractions and the fibroblast/macrophage network. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 451, (2), 170–188, 2002.
Willis, Robert. The anatomy of the brain: with a general view of the nervous system. New York: S. Highley, 1826. Print