The brain is the organ that helps you read this post! It is an incredible 3-pound organ which, like an egg, can be broken down into 3 major components. Those 3 part of the brain can be further broken down into their component parts, and so on down to neurons and connections.
The Human Brain has three major parts:
- The Cerebrum
- The largest part of your brain
- Split into right and left hemispheres
- Art, math, language, emotions, thought
- The Cerebellum
- Motor controls and balance
- Some language and emotional processing
- The Brain Stem
- Connects your brain to the rest of your body
- Regulates background processes like heart rate, breathing, and digestion
Broadly, the cerebrum is the biggest part of your brain. It includes gray matter and the famous two hemispheres. The cerebellum helps with motor functions, and the brain stem connects your brain and handles certain subconscious processes.
1. The Cerebellum and Brain Stem
The cerebellum regulates motor control and balance, and also helps with cognitive functions like language, attention, and emotions.
The brain stem regulates digestion, heart rate, and breathing. The brain stem also connects the brain to your spinal cord, and from there to the rest of your body.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain, and so most of our time will be spent on it. It also contains over 90% of the neurons in your brain, making it responsible for the heavy lifting. The cerebellum and brain stem help regulate the cerebrum and connect it to the rest of the body.
2. The Cerebrum
Makes up well over half of the weight and volume of your brain. The cerebrum is the part of your brain divided into the famous (or infamous) two hemispheres, the “left brain” and “right brain.” These sides are designated from your own point of view, and they’re linked by nerve fibers.
The important parts of the cerebrum are symmetrically split along the two hemispheres.
- Corpus Callosum
- Nerve fibers that connect the left and right cerebrum hemispheres.
- Temporal Lobes
- Hippocampi for the transference of memory from short to long term
- Cerebral Cortex/Neo Cortex
- A neural covering for the entire cerebrum
- 90% of your neurons are in the cerebral cortex
- “Gray Matter”
- The surface of the cerebral cortex, where most of the neurons are.
3. Hemispheres and Lobes in the Cerebrum
Each of the hemispheres in the cerebrum controls the opposite side of the body. If damage occurs to one side of the brain, the opposite side of your body may suffer damages.
Although the right and left brain science have received scrutiny for oversimplification, it is true that the two hemispheres help control different tasks. The left brain handles speech, math, writing, and comprehension; the right brain works with artistic and musical skills, and creativity and spatial ability.
Each hemisphere of the cerebrum has four lobes which are symmetrically divided by right and left brain function. The frontal lobe controls for personality, judgment, speech, concentration, and self-awareness. The parietal lobe interprets language, handles pain, interprets sensory signals, and helps with spatial recognition. The occipital lobe handles vision, and the temporal lobe works with language, memory, and organization.
4. Deep Brain Structures
Beneath the surface gray matter is white matter tracts that connect the cortex, allowing the brain to talk to itself in the deep structures. These deep structures include the hypothalamus, which regulates desires, the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones for growth and sexual development, and the pineal gland, which regulates the circadian rhythms and internal clock.
Deep structures, a vital part of the brain, also include the thalamus, which helps transfer information to the cortex and is vital in sensation and attention, the basal ganglia, which coordinates detailed movement (like fingers), and the limbic system which is the crux of emotions and learning (the famous hippocampus is part of the limbic system).
5. Brain Cells
Beneath each structure of the egg of the brain, down below the brain stem and deep structures, are the basic cells of the brain.
There are two primary cell types:
- Nerve Cells, also known as neurons, are responsible for conveying information with chemical and electric signals. A neuron transmits energy to talk across gaps called synapses. Synapses and neurons combine to pass energy as information across the vast molecular distances of the brain.
- Glial cells are the building blocks of the brain, supporting neurons with protection and structure. Glial cells outnumber neurons at least 10 to 1.
The brain is made up of the cerebellum, brain stem, and cerebrum. The cerebrum contains the right and left brain hemispheres, made up of four primary lobes. The deep structures of the cerebrum include more well-known brain parts, like the hippocampus and amygdala.
The whole brain is built from glial cells and neurons. Glial cells build the structure, and neurons pass information.
I hope that this article on the parts of the brain was helpful. If you are interested, visit the health facts page!