About The Brain

The brain is the part of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem that lies with­in the skull. It weighs about three pounds and is a pink­ish-gray mass com­posed of about 10 bil­lion nerve cells that trans­mit elec­tro­chem­i­cal sig­nals. The brain is respon­si­ble for con­trol­ling all men­tal func­tions and coor­di­nat­ing phys­i­cal func­tions, includ­ing move­ment, sleep, hunger and thirst.

The bones of the skull and face are designed to pro­tect the brain, pro­vide struc­ture for the face, and form the open­ings through which food, water, and air enter the body. The skull con­sists of 22 bones. Of these bones, eight sur­round and pro­tect the brain (cra­ni­um), and the remain­ing 14 form the under­ly­ing struc­ture of the face (mandible).

The largest part of the brain is called the cere­brum. It is the “think­ing” part of the brain and con­trols all vol­un­tary mus­cles. Both short-term and long-term mem­o­ries reside here, and it is the cere­brum that helps us rea­son. The cere­brum is divid­ed into two halves—right and left. The right half con­trols the left side of the body and the left half con­trols the right side of the body. There are also cells in the brain called amyg­dala, that con­trol emo­tions.

The cere­bel­lum is at the back side of the brain and is much small­er than the cere­brum. It con­trols bal­ance, move­ment and coor­di­na­tion.

The brain stem sits beneath the cere­brum and in front of the cere­bel­lum. It con­nects the brain to the spinal cord and con­trols our invol­un­tary func­tions, such as breath­ing and telling the heart to pump blood through­out the body.

The pitu­itary gland and hypo­thal­a­mus are two very small parts of the brain. The pitu­itary gland pro­duces hor­mones that pro­mote growth, play a role in puber­ty and reg­u­late blood sug­ar. The hypo­thal­a­mus con­trols the body’s tem­per­a­ture, telling the body to sweat if the tem­per­a­ture is too high and shiv­er if it’s too cold.

Because the brain is so com­plex, it requires spe­cial­ly-trained physi­cians to treat injuries and dis­or­ders.

For infor­ma­tion on Pos­si­ble Symp­toms, click here »