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Cerebrum and Cerebellum split?

Cerebrum and Cerebellum split?



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What happens when cerebrum and cerebellum are surgically separated (or partially separated)?

Is this lethal, and if not, what are consequences for brain operations?


Q: What happens when cerebrum and cerebellum are surgically separated (or partially separated)?

A: If that happens, the functional connection between the cerebrum and cerebellum will be destroyed. Now, the connection between the cerebrum and cerebellum serves to do these functions (1,2):

  • Coordination of voluntary movements. Most movements are composed of a number of different muscle groups acting together in a temporally coordinated fashion. One major function of the cerebellum is to coordinate the timing and force of these different muscle groups to produce fluid limb or body movements.

  • Motor learning. The cerebellum is important for motor learning. The cerebellum plays a major role in adapting and fine-tuning motor programs to make accurate movements through a trial-and-error process (e.g., learning to hit a baseball).

  • Cognitive functions. Although the cerebellum is most understood in terms of its contributions to motor control, it is also involved in certain cognitive functions, such as language. Thus, like the basal ganglia, the cerebellum is historically considered as part of the motor system, but its functions extend beyond motor control in ways that are not yet well understood.” (1)

If the connection is severed, these functions will be impaired, resulting in loss of coordination of motor movement (such as dysmetria, dysdiadokokinesia, and stuttering speech), loss of motor learning (it will be very difficult to learn new motor skills, be it sports, musical performance, dancing, etc.), and impairment of some cognitive functions (e.g., impaired spatial cognition, dysprosody, anomia, executive dysfunction with difficulties in planning, set-shifting, abstraction, working memory, and verbal fluency, personality change, and inappropriate behavior [3]).

Q: Is this lethal, and if not, what are consequences for brain operations?

A: A separation of the cerebrum and cerebellum will not be lethal. Medically, there is no diseases or conditions that require a separation between the two structures. But there are diseases that, in effects, separate the two structures, such as stroke, tumor, or demyelinating disease that affects the superior cerebellar peduncles (which connects the cerebrum and cerebellum). Or there may be diseases/conditions that destroy the cerebellum, such as stroke, tumor, trauma, or operation that removes the cerebellum to treat these diseases/conditions, and thus having the same effects of separating the cerebellum from the cerebrum. All these pathological conditions and operations that treat them can causes the symptoms and signs mentioned above, but none are lethal by themselves (i.e., none are lethal if there are no other complications).

References:

  1. James Knierim. Chapter 5. Cerebellum: 5.1 Overview: Functions of the Cerebellum Neuroscience Online. The University of Texas. Health Science Center at Houston. McGovern Medical School.

  2. William C Hall. Chapter 18. Modulation of Movement by the Cerebellum. In: Purves D, Augustine GJ, David Fitzpatrick D, Hall WC, Lamantia AS,‎ McNamara JO, Williams SM, editors. Neuroscience. 3rd ed. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates Inc; 2004. ISBN-13: 9780878937257 ISBN-10: 0878937250.

  3. Mark Rapoport. The Role of the Cerebellum in Cognition and Behavior. A Selective Review. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.


What Is The Role Of The Cerebrum?

The cerebrum is the anterior part of the brain. As large as a cantaloupe, this region accounts for about 85% of the total brain weight.

So, what does the cerebrum do ?

This region is responsible for high brain functions like thinking, learning, and memory. The cerebrum is also in charge of organization, planning, and language processing. In addition, this part of the brain is also tasked with interpreting and processing the information obtained from the five senses.

The outside of the cerebrum is covered with a thin layer of gray matter called the cerebral cortex . This part of the cerebrum is in charge of your motor skills and helps the brain control voluntary movements.

Furthermore, the cortex also has association areas that allow you to perceive ideas and objects in a meaningful way. It also has centers that help you control your impulses and manage your anger.

To ensure that your cerebrum is working to its full potential, you need to give your brain a good mental workout every day. The best way to do this is by constantly learning new things.

If knowledge is power, learning is your superpower.

— Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Program

What Is The Main Function Of The Cerebellum?

Moving clockwise from the cerebrum we find the cerebellum , another vital region of the brain.

The cerebellum is much smaller than the cerebrum – approximately only one-eighth of its size. However, this region houses upwards of 50 billion neurons, which is more than half of all the neurons in the brain.

While the motor area of the cerebral cortex plans and controls your voluntary movements, the cerebellum is in charge of carrying them out. Namely, this part of the brain activates all the muscles in your body needed to make the movement that you want to make.

In addition to this, the cerebellum also ensures that your muscles are well-synchronized and that no muscles or muscle groups are providing opposition to the movement that you’re making. What’s more, the cerebellum is also responsible for maintaining your balance and posture while you’re moving.

Because of the functions they perform, the cerebrum was historically considered the “conscious” part of the brain, whereas the cerebellum was seen as the “unconscious” part. However, recent research has challenged this notion by proving that the cerebellum may be responsible for regulating our thoughts .


Current perspectives on the cerebellum and reading development

The dominant neural models of typical and atypical reading focus on the cerebral cortex. However, Nicolson et al. (2001) proposed a model, the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, in which the cerebellum plays an important role in reading. To evaluate the evidence in support of this model, we qualitatively review the current literature and employ meta-analytic tools examining patterns of functional connectivity between the cerebellum and the cerebral reading network. We find evidence for a phonological circuit with connectivity between the cerebellum and a dorsal fronto-parietal pathway, and a semantic circuit with cerebellar connectivity to a ventral fronto-temporal pathway. Furthermore, both cerebral pathways have functional connections with the mid-fusiform gyrus, a region implicated in orthographic processing. Consideration of these circuits within the context of the current literature suggests the cerebellum is positioned to influence both phonological and word-based decoding procedures for recognizing unfamiliar printed words. Overall, multiple lines of research provide support for the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, while also highlighting the need for further research to test mechanistic hypotheses.

Keywords: Cerebellar deficit hypothesis Decoding Network Phonological Reading development Semantic.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Figures

Proposed cerebellar components that contribute…

Proposed cerebellar components that contribute to the development of reading according to a…

Comparison of the three reading-related…

Comparison of the three reading-related networks as determined by the ALE and Neurosynth…

Functional connectivity results between the…

Functional connectivity results between the cerebral regions within the reading network and the…

Top 12 terms (highest z…

Top 12 terms (highest z -value) corresponding to the seed-voxel for the functionally…

Cerebro-cerebellar dorsal circuit. Dashed line…

Cerebro-cerebellar dorsal circuit. Dashed line indicates a proposed indirect cerebellar support in developing…


Cerebellum Brain Damage: Conclusion

Cerebellar damage can cause serious problems with muscle coordination. Fortunately, recovery is possible.

The key to healing any brain injury, including cerebellar injuries, is to engage your brain’s neuroplasticity. You need to keep your body and mind active if you want to make progress.

If you commit to doing your therapy exercises every day, you should start to see some improvements in your balance, coordination, and cognitive skills, depending on how severe your injury was.

We hope this guide to cerebellum brain damage gives you the tools you need to make a great recovery.


The Central Nervous System

The brain and the spinal cord are the central nervous system, and they represent the main organs of the nervous system. The spinal cord is a single structure, whereas the adult brain is described in terms of four major regions: the cerebrum, the diencephalon, the brain stem, and the cerebellum. A person’s conscious experiences are based on neural activity in the brain. The regulation of homeostasis is governed by a specialized region in the brain. The coordination of reflexes depends on the integration of sensory and motor pathways in the spinal cord.

The Cerebrum

The iconic gray mantle of the human brain, which appears to make up most of the mass of the brain, is the cerebrum ([link]). The wrinkled portion is the cerebral cortex, and the rest of the structure is beneath that outer covering. There is a large separation between the two sides of the cerebrum called the longitudinal fissure. It separates the cerebrum into two distinct halves, a right and left cerebral hemisphere. Deep within the cerebrum, the white matter of the corpus callosum provides the major pathway for communication between the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.

Many of the higher neurological functions, such as memory, emotion, and consciousness, are the result of cerebral function. The complexity of the cerebrum is different across vertebrate species. The cerebrum of the most primitive vertebrates is not much more than the connection for the sense of smell. In mammals, the cerebrum comprises the outer gray matter that is the cortex (from the Latin word meaning “bark of a tree”) and several deep nuclei that belong to three important functional groups. The basal nuclei are responsible for cognitive processing, the most important function being that associated with planning movements. The basal forebrain contains nuclei that are important in learning and memory. The limbic cortex is the region of the cerebral cortex that is part of the limbic system, a collection of structures involved in emotion, memory, and behavior.

Cerebral Cortex

The cerebrum is covered by a continuous layer of gray matter that wraps around either side of the forebrain—the cerebral cortex. This thin, extensive region of wrinkled gray matter is responsible for the higher functions of the nervous system. A gyrus (plural = gyri) is the ridge of one of those wrinkles, and a sulcus (plural = sulci) is the groove between two gyri. The pattern of these folds of tissue indicates specific regions of the cerebral cortex.

The head is limited by the size of the birth canal, and the brain must fit inside the cranial cavity of the skull. Extensive folding in the cerebral cortex enables more gray matter to fit into this limited space. If the gray matter of the cortex were peeled off of the cerebrum and laid out flat, its surface area would be roughly equal to one square meter.

The folding of the cortex maximizes the amount of gray matter in the cranial cavity. During embryonic development, as the telencephalon expands within the skull, the brain goes through a regular course of growth that results in everyone’s brain having a similar pattern of folds. The surface of the brain can be mapped on the basis of the locations of large gyri and sulci. Using these landmarks, the cortex can be separated into four major regions, or lobes ([link]). The lateral sulcus that separates the temporal lobe from the other regions is one such landmark. Superior to the lateral sulcus are the parietal lobe and frontal lobe, which are separated from each other by the central sulcus. The posterior region of the cortex is the occipital lobe, which has no obvious anatomical border between it and the parietal or temporal lobes on the lateral surface of the brain. From the medial surface, an obvious landmark separating the parietal and occipital lobes is called the parieto-occipital sulcus. The fact that there is no obvious anatomical border between these lobes is consistent with the functions of these regions being interrelated.

Different regions of the cerebral cortex can be associated with particular functions, a concept known as localization of function. In the early 1900s, a German neuroscientist named Korbinian Brodmann performed an extensive study of the microscopic anatomy—the cytoarchitecture—of the cerebral cortex and divided the cortex into 52 separate regions on the basis of the histology of the cortex. His work resulted in a system of classification known as Brodmann’s areas, which is still used today to describe the anatomical distinctions within the cortex ([link]). The results from Brodmann’s work on the anatomy align very well with the functional differences within the cortex. Areas 17 and 18 in the occipital lobe are responsible for primary visual perception. That visual information is complex, so it is processed in the temporal and parietal lobes as well.

The temporal lobe is associated with primary auditory sensation, known as Brodmann’s areas 41 and 42 in the superior temporal lobe. Because regions of the temporal lobe are part of the limbic system, memory is an important function associated with that lobe. Memory is essentially a sensory function memories are recalled sensations such as the smell of Mom’s baking or the sound of a barking dog. Even memories of movement are really the memory of sensory feedback from those movements, such as stretching muscles or the movement of the skin around a joint. Structures in the temporal lobe are responsible for establishing long-term memory, but the ultimate location of those memories is usually in the region in which the sensory perception was processed.

The main sensation associated with the parietal lobe is somatosensation, meaning the general sensations associated with the body. Posterior to the central sulcus is the postcentral gyrus, the primary somatosensory cortex, which is identified as Brodmann’s areas 1, 2, and 3. All of the tactile senses are processed in this area, including touch, pressure, tickle, pain, itch, and vibration, as well as more general senses of the body such as proprioception and kinesthesia, which are the senses of body position and movement, respectively.

Anterior to the central sulcus is the frontal lobe, which is primarily associated with motor functions. The precentral gyrus is the primary motor cortex. Cells from this region of the cerebral cortex are the upper motor neurons that instruct cells in the spinal cord to move skeletal muscles. Anterior to this region are a few areas that are associated with planned movements. The premotor area is responsible for thinking of a movement to be made. The frontal eye fields are important in eliciting eye movements and in attending to visual stimuli. Broca’s area is responsible for the production of language, or controlling movements responsible for speech in the vast majority of people, it is located only on the left side. Anterior to these regions is the prefrontal lobe, which serves cognitive functions that can be the basis of personality, short-term memory, and consciousness. The prefrontal lobotomy is an outdated mode of treatment for personality disorders (psychiatric conditions) that profoundly affected the personality of the patient.

Subcortical structures

Beneath the cerebral cortex are sets of nuclei known as subcortical nuclei that augment cortical processes. The nuclei of the basal forebrain serve as the primary location for acetylcholine production, which modulates the overall activity of the cortex, possibly leading to greater attention to sensory stimuli. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a loss of neurons in the basal forebrain. The hippocampus and amygdala are medial-lobe structures that, along with the adjacent cortex, are involved in long-term memory formation and emotional responses. The basal nuclei are a set of nuclei in the cerebrum responsible for comparing cortical processing with the general state of activity in the nervous system to influence the likelihood of movement taking place. For example, while a student is sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture, the basal nuclei will keep the urge to jump up and scream from actually happening. (The basal nuclei are also referred to as the basal ganglia, although that is potentially confusing because the term ganglia is typically used for peripheral structures.)

The major structures of the basal nuclei that control movement are the caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus, which are located deep in the cerebrum. The caudate is a long nucleus that follows the basic C-shape of the cerebrum from the frontal lobe, through the parietal and occipital lobes, into the temporal lobe. The putamen is mostly deep in the anterior regions of the frontal and parietal lobes. Together, the caudate and putamen are called the striatum. The globus pallidus is a layered nucleus that lies just medial to the putamen they are called the lenticular nuclei because they look like curved pieces fitting together like lenses. The globus pallidus has two subdivisions, the external and internal segments, which are lateral and medial, respectively. These nuclei are depicted in a frontal section of the brain in [link].

The basal nuclei in the cerebrum are connected with a few more nuclei in the brain stem that together act as a functional group that forms a motor pathway. Two streams of information processing take place in the basal nuclei. All input to the basal nuclei is from the cortex into the striatum ([link]). The direct pathway is the projection of axons from the striatum to the globus pallidus internal segment (GPi) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). The GPi/SNr then projects to the thalamus, which projects back to the cortex. The indirect pathway is the projection of axons from the striatum to the globus pallidus external segment (GPe), then to the subthalamic nucleus (STN), and finally to GPi/SNr. The two streams both target the GPi/SNr, but one has a direct projection and the other goes through a few intervening nuclei. The direct pathway causes the disinhibition of the thalamus (inhibition of one cell on a target cell that then inhibits the first cell), whereas the indirect pathway causes, or reinforces, the normal inhibition of the thalamus. The thalamus then can either excite the cortex (as a result of the direct pathway) or fail to excite the cortex (as a result of the indirect pathway).

The switch between the two pathways is the substantia nigra pars compacta, which projects to the striatum and releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine receptors are either excitatory (D1-type receptors) or inhibitory (D2-type receptors). The direct pathway is activated by dopamine, and the indirect pathway is inhibited by dopamine. When the substantia nigra pars compacta is firing, it signals to the basal nuclei that the body is in an active state, and movement will be more likely. When the substantia nigra pars compacta is silent, the body is in a passive state, and movement is inhibited. To illustrate this situation, while a student is sitting listening to a lecture, the substantia nigra pars compacta would be silent and the student less likely to get up and walk around. Likewise, while the professor is lecturing, and walking around at the front of the classroom, the professor’s substantia nigra pars compacta would be active, in keeping with his or her activity level.

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the direct pathway is the shorter pathway through the system that results in increased activity in the cerebral cortex and increased motor activity. The direct pathway is described as resulting in “disinhibition” of the thalamus. What does disinhibition mean? What are the two neurons doing individually to cause this?

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the indirect pathway is the longer pathway through the system that results in decreased activity in the cerebral cortex, and therefore less motor activity. The indirect pathway has an extra couple of connections in it, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus. What is the end result on the thalamus, and therefore on movement initiated by the cerebral cortex?

The Myth of Left Brain/Right Brain There is a persistent myth that people are “right-brained” or “left-brained,” which is an oversimplification of an important concept about the cerebral hemispheres. There is some lateralization of function, in which the left side of the brain is devoted to language function and the right side is devoted to spatial and nonverbal reasoning. Whereas these functions are predominantly associated with those sides of the brain, there is no monopoly by either side on these functions. Many pervasive functions, such as language, are distributed globally around the cerebrum.

Some of the support for this misconception has come from studies of split brains. A drastic way to deal with a rare and devastating neurological condition (intractable epilepsy) is to separate the two hemispheres of the brain. After sectioning the corpus callosum, a split-brained patient will have trouble producing verbal responses on the basis of sensory information processed on the right side of the cerebrum, leading to the idea that the left side is responsible for language function.

However, there are well-documented cases of language functions lost from damage to the right side of the brain. The deficits seen in damage to the left side of the brain are classified as aphasia, a loss of speech function damage on the right side can affect the use of language. Right-side damage can result in a loss of ability to understand figurative aspects of speech, such as jokes, irony, or metaphors. Nonverbal aspects of speech can be affected by damage to the right side, such as facial expression or body language, and right-side damage can lead to a “flat affect” in speech, or a loss of emotional expression in speech—sounding like a robot when talking.

The Diencephalon

The diencephalon is the one region of the adult brain that retains its name from embryologic development. The etymology of the word diencephalon translates to “through brain.” It is the connection between the cerebrum and the rest of the nervous system, with one exception. The rest of the brain, the spinal cord, and the PNS all send information to the cerebrum through the diencephalon. Output from the cerebrum passes through the diencephalon. The single exception is the system associated with olfaction, or the sense of smell, which connects directly with the cerebrum. In the earliest vertebrate species, the cerebrum was not much more than olfactory bulbs that received peripheral information about the chemical environment (to call it smell in these organisms is imprecise because they lived in the ocean).

The diencephalon is deep beneath the cerebrum and constitutes the walls of the third ventricle. The diencephalon can be described as any region of the brain with “thalamus” in its name. The two major regions of the diencephalon are the thalamus itself and the hypothalamus ([link]). There are other structures, such as the epithalamus, which contains the pineal gland, or the subthalamus, which includes the subthalamic nucleus that is part of the basal nuclei.

Thalamus

The thalamus is a collection of nuclei that relay information between the cerebral cortex and the periphery, spinal cord, or brain stem. All sensory information, except for the sense of smell, passes through the thalamus before processing by the cortex. Axons from the peripheral sensory organs, or intermediate nuclei, synapse in the thalamus, and thalamic neurons project directly to the cerebrum. It is a requisite synapse in any sensory pathway, except for olfaction. The thalamus does not just pass the information on, it also processes that information. For example, the portion of the thalamus that receives visual information will influence what visual stimuli are important, or what receives attention.

The cerebrum also sends information down to the thalamus, which usually communicates motor commands. This involves interactions with the cerebellum and other nuclei in the brain stem. The cerebrum interacts with the basal nuclei, which involves connections with the thalamus. The primary output of the basal nuclei is to the thalamus, which relays that output to the cerebral cortex. The cortex also sends information to the thalamus that will then influence the effects of the basal nuclei.

Hypothalamus

Inferior and slightly anterior to the thalamus is the hypothalamus, the other major region of the diencephalon. The hypothalamus is a collection of nuclei that are largely involved in regulating homeostasis. The hypothalamus is the executive region in charge of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system through its regulation of the anterior pituitary gland. Other parts of the hypothalamus are involved in memory and emotion as part of the limbic system.

Brain Stem

The midbrain and hindbrain (composed of the pons and the medulla) are collectively referred to as the brain stem ([link]). The structure emerges from the ventral surface of the forebrain as a tapering cone that connects the brain to the spinal cord. Attached to the brain stem, but considered a separate region of the adult brain, is the cerebellum. The midbrain coordinates sensory representations of the visual, auditory, and somatosensory perceptual spaces. The pons is the main connection with the cerebellum. The pons and the medulla regulate several crucial functions, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and rates.

The cranial nerves connect through the brain stem and provide the brain with the sensory input and motor output associated with the head and neck, including most of the special senses. The major ascending and descending pathways between the spinal cord and brain, specifically the cerebrum, pass through the brain stem.

Midbrain

One of the original regions of the embryonic brain, the midbrain is a small region between the thalamus and pons. It is separated into the tectum and tegmentum, from the Latin words for roof and floor, respectively. The cerebral aqueduct passes through the center of the midbrain, such that these regions are the roof and floor of that canal.

The tectum is composed of four bumps known as the colliculi (singular = colliculus), which means “little hill” in Latin. The inferior colliculus is the inferior pair of these enlargements and is part of the auditory brain stem pathway. Neurons of the inferior colliculus project to the thalamus, which then sends auditory information to the cerebrum for the conscious perception of sound. The superior colliculus is the superior pair and combines sensory information about visual space, auditory space, and somatosensory space. Activity in the superior colliculus is related to orienting the eyes to a sound or touch stimulus. If you are walking along the sidewalk on campus and you hear chirping, the superior colliculus coordinates that information with your awareness of the visual location of the tree right above you. That is the correlation of auditory and visual maps. If you suddenly feel something wet fall on your head, your superior colliculus integrates that with the auditory and visual maps and you know that the chirping bird just relieved itself on you. You want to look up to see the culprit, but do not.

The tegmentum is continuous with the gray matter of the rest of the brain stem. Throughout the midbrain, pons, and medulla, the tegmentum contains the nuclei that receive and send information through the cranial nerves, as well as regions that regulate important functions such as those of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The word pons comes from the Latin word for bridge. It is visible on the anterior surface of the brain stem as the thick bundle of white matter attached to the cerebellum. The pons is the main connection between the cerebellum and the brain stem. The bridge-like white matter is only the anterior surface of the pons the gray matter beneath that is a continuation of the tegmentum from the midbrain. Gray matter in the tegmentum region of the pons contains neurons receiving descending input from the forebrain that is sent to the cerebellum.

Medulla

The medulla is the region known as the myelencephalon in the embryonic brain. The initial portion of the name, “myel,” refers to the significant white matter found in this region—especially on its exterior, which is continuous with the white matter of the spinal cord. The tegmentum of the midbrain and pons continues into the medulla because this gray matter is responsible for processing cranial nerve information. A diffuse region of gray matter throughout the brain stem, known as the reticular formation, is related to sleep and wakefulness, such as general brain activity and attention.

The Cerebellum

The cerebellum, as the name suggests, is the “little brain.” It is covered in gyri and sulci like the cerebrum, and looks like a miniature version of that part of the brain ([link]). The cerebellum is largely responsible for comparing information from the cerebrum with sensory feedback from the periphery through the spinal cord. It accounts for approximately 10 percent of the mass of the brain.

Descending fibers from the cerebrum have branches that connect to neurons in the pons. Those neurons project into the cerebellum, providing a copy of motor commands sent to the spinal cord. Sensory information from the periphery, which enters through spinal or cranial nerves, is copied to a nucleus in the medulla known as the inferior olive. Fibers from this nucleus enter the cerebellum and are compared with the descending commands from the cerebrum. If the primary motor cortex of the frontal lobe sends a command down to the spinal cord to initiate walking, a copy of that instruction is sent to the cerebellum. Sensory feedback from the muscles and joints, proprioceptive information about the movements of walking, and sensations of balance are sent to the cerebellum through the inferior olive and the cerebellum compares them. If walking is not coordinated, perhaps because the ground is uneven or a strong wind is blowing, then the cerebellum sends out a corrective command to compensate for the difference between the original cortical command and the sensory feedback. The output of the cerebellum is into the midbrain, which then sends a descending input to the spinal cord to correct the messages going to skeletal muscles.

The Spinal Cord

The description of the CNS is concentrated on the structures of the brain, but the spinal cord is another major organ of the system. Whereas the brain develops out of expansions of the neural tube into primary and then secondary vesicles, the spinal cord maintains the tube structure and is only specialized into certain regions. As the spinal cord continues to develop in the newborn, anatomical features mark its surface. The anterior midline is marked by the anterior median fissure, and the posterior midline is marked by the posterior median sulcus. Axons enter the posterior side through the dorsal (posterior) nerve root, which marks the posterolateral sulcus on either side. The axons emerging from the anterior side do so through the ventral (anterior) nerve root. Note that it is common to see the terms dorsal (dorsal = “back”) and ventral (ventral = “belly”) used interchangeably with posterior and anterior, particularly in reference to nerves and the structures of the spinal cord. You should learn to be comfortable with both.

On the whole, the posterior regions are responsible for sensory functions and the anterior regions are associated with motor functions. This comes from the initial development of the spinal cord, which is divided into the basal plate and the alar plate. The basal plate is closest to the ventral midline of the neural tube, which will become the anterior face of the spinal cord and gives rise to motor neurons. The alar plate is on the dorsal side of the neural tube and gives rise to neurons that will receive sensory input from the periphery.

The length of the spinal cord is divided into regions that correspond to the regions of the vertebral column. The name of a spinal cord region corresponds to the level at which spinal nerves pass through the intervertebral foramina. Immediately adjacent to the brain stem is the cervical region, followed by the thoracic, then the lumbar, and finally the sacral region. The spinal cord is not the full length of the vertebral column because the spinal cord does not grow significantly longer after the first or second year, but the skeleton continues to grow. The nerves that emerge from the spinal cord pass through the intervertebral formina at the respective levels. As the vertebral column grows, these nerves grow with it and result in a long bundle of nerves that resembles a horse’s tail and is named the cauda equina. The sacral spinal cord is at the level of the upper lumbar vertebral bones. The spinal nerves extend from their various levels to the proper level of the vertebral column.

Gray Horns

In cross-section, the gray matter of the spinal cord has the appearance of an ink-blot test, with the spread of the gray matter on one side replicated on the other—a shape reminiscent of a bulbous capital “H.” As shown in [link], the gray matter is subdivided into regions that are referred to as horns. The posterior horn is responsible for sensory processing. The anterior horn sends out motor signals to the skeletal muscles. The lateral horn, which is only found in the thoracic, upper lumbar, and sacral regions, is the central component of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

Some of the largest neurons of the spinal cord are the multipolar motor neurons in the anterior horn. The fibers that cause contraction of skeletal muscles are the axons of these neurons. The motor neuron that causes contraction of the big toe, for example, is located in the sacral spinal cord. The axon that has to reach all the way to the belly of that muscle may be a meter in length. The neuronal cell body that maintains that long fiber must be quite large, possibly several hundred micrometers in diameter, making it one of the largest cells in the body.

White Columns

Just as the gray matter is separated into horns, the white matter of the spinal cord is separated into columns. Ascending tracts of nervous system fibers in these columns carry sensory information up to the brain, whereas descending tracts carry motor commands from the brain. Looking at the spinal cord longitudinally, the columns extend along its length as continuous bands of white matter. Between the two posterior horns of gray matter are the posterior columns. Between the two anterior horns, and bounded by the axons of motor neurons emerging from that gray matter area, are the anterior columns. The white matter on either side of the spinal cord, between the posterior horn and the axons of the anterior horn neurons, are the lateral columns. The posterior columns are composed of axons of ascending tracts. The anterior and lateral columns are composed of many different groups of axons of both ascending and descending tracts—the latter carrying motor commands down from the brain to the spinal cord to control output to the periphery.

Watch this video to learn about the gray matter of the spinal cord that receives input from fibers of the dorsal (posterior) root and sends information out through the fibers of the ventral (anterior) root. As discussed in this video, these connections represent the interactions of the CNS with peripheral structures for both sensory and motor functions. The cervical and lumbar spinal cords have enlargements as a result of larger populations of neurons. What are these enlargements responsible for?

Basal Nuclei Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the basal nuclei, specifically of the substantia nigra, that demonstrates the effects of the direct and indirect pathways. Parkinson’s disease is the result of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta dying. These neurons release dopamine into the striatum. Without that modulatory influence, the basal nuclei are stuck in the indirect pathway, without the direct pathway being activated. The direct pathway is responsible for increasing cortical movement commands. The increased activity of the indirect pathway results in the hypokinetic disorder of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is neurodegenerative, meaning that neurons die that cannot be replaced, so there is no cure for the disorder. Treatments for Parkinson’s disease are aimed at increasing dopamine levels in the striatum. Currently, the most common way of doing that is by providing the amino acid L-DOPA, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine and can cross the blood-brain barrier. With levels of the precursor elevated, the remaining cells of the substantia nigra pars compacta can make more neurotransmitter and have a greater effect. Unfortunately, the patient will become less responsive to L-DOPA treatment as time progresses, and it can cause increased dopamine levels elsewhere in the brain, which are associated with psychosis or schizophrenia.

Visit this site for a thorough explanation of Parkinson’s disease.

Compared with the nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, the human has a brain that is huge. At a point in the past, a common ancestor gave rise to the two species of humans and chimpanzees. That evolutionary history is long and is still an area of intense study. But something happened to increase the size of the human brain relative to the chimpanzee. Read this article in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened.

According to one hypothesis about the expansion of brain size, what tissue might have been sacrificed so energy was available to grow our larger brain? Based on what you know about that tissue and nervous tissue, why would there be a trade-off between them in terms of energy use?

Chapter Review

The adult brain is separated into four major regions: the cerebrum, the diencephalon, the brain stem, and the cerebellum. The cerebrum is the largest portion and contains the cerebral cortex and subcortical nuclei. It is divided into two halves by the longitudinal fissure.

The cortex is separated into the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. The frontal lobe is responsible for motor functions, from planning movements through executing commands to be sent to the spinal cord and periphery. The most anterior portion of the frontal lobe is the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with aspects of personality through its influence on motor responses in decision-making.

The other lobes are responsible for sensory functions. The parietal lobe is where somatosensation is processed. The occipital lobe is where visual processing begins, although the other parts of the brain can contribute to visual function. The temporal lobe contains the cortical area for auditory processing, but also has regions crucial for memory formation.

Nuclei beneath the cerebral cortex, known as the subcortical nuclei, are responsible for augmenting cortical functions. The basal nuclei receive input from cortical areas and compare it with the general state of the individual through the activity of a dopamine-releasing nucleus. The output influences the activity of part of the thalamus that can then increase or decrease cortical activity that often results in changes to motor commands. The basal forebrain is responsible for modulating cortical activity in attention and memory. The limbic system includes deep cerebral nuclei that are responsible for emotion and memory.

The diencephalon includes the thalamus and the hypothalamus, along with some other structures. The thalamus is a relay between the cerebrum and the rest of the nervous system. The hypothalamus coordinates homeostatic functions through the autonomic and endocrine systems.

The brain stem is composed of the midbrain, pons, and medulla. It controls the head and neck region of the body through the cranial nerves. There are control centers in the brain stem that regulate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The cerebellum is connected to the brain stem, primarily at the pons, where it receives a copy of the descending input from the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It can compare this with sensory feedback input through the medulla and send output through the midbrain that can correct motor commands for coordination.

Interactive Link Questions

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the direct pathway is the shorter pathway through the system that results in increased activity in the cerebral cortex and increased motor activity. The direct pathway is described as resulting in “disinhibition” of the thalamus. What does disinhibition mean? What are the two neurons doing individually to cause this?

Both cells are inhibitory. The first cell inhibits the second one. Therefore, the second cell can no longer inhibit its target. This is disinhibition of that target across two synapses.

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the indirect pathway is the longer pathway through the system that results in decreased activity in the cerebral cortex, and therefore less motor activity. The indirect pathway has an extra couple of connections in it, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus. What is the end result on the thalamus, and therefore on movement initiated by the cerebral cortex?

By disinhibiting the subthalamic nucleus, the indirect pathway increases excitation of the globus pallidus internal segment. That, in turn, inhibits the thalamus, which is the opposite effect of the direct pathway that disinhibits the thalamus.

Watch this video to learn about the gray matter of the spinal cord that receives input from fibers of the dorsal (posterior) root and sends information out through the fibers of the ventral (anterior) root. As discussed in this video, these connections represent the interactions of the CNS with peripheral structures for both sensory and motor functions. The cervical and lumbar spinal cords have enlargements as a result of larger populations of neurons. What are these enlargements responsible for?

There are more motor neurons in the anterior horns that are responsible for movement in the limbs. The cervical enlargement is for the arms, and the lumbar enlargement is for the legs.

Compared with the nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, the human has a brain that is huge. At a point in the past, a common ancestor gave rise to the two species of humans and chimpanzees. That evolutionary history is long and is still an area of intense study. But something happened to increase the size of the human brain relative to the chimpanzee. Read this article in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened.

According to one hypothesis about the expansion of brain size, what tissue might have been sacrificed so energy was available to grow our larger brain? Based on what you know about that tissue and nervous tissue, why would there be a trade-off between them in terms of energy use?

Energy is needed for the brain to develop and perform higher cognitive functions. That energy is not available for the muscle tissues to develop and function. The hypothesis suggests that humans have larger brains and less muscle mass, and chimpanzees have the smaller brains but more muscle mass.

Review Questions

Which lobe of the cerebral cortex is responsible for generating motor commands?

What region of the diencephalon coordinates homeostasis?

What level of the brain stem is the major input to the cerebellum?

What region of the spinal cord contains motor neurons that direct the movement of skeletal muscles?

Brodmann’s areas map different regions of the ________ to particular functions.

Critical Thinking Questions

Damage to specific regions of the cerebral cortex, such as through a stroke, can result in specific losses of function. What functions would likely be lost by a stroke in the temporal lobe?

The temporal lobe has sensory functions associated with hearing and vision, as well as being important for memory. A stroke in the temporal lobe can result in specific sensory deficits in these systems (known as agnosias) or losses in memory.

Why do the anatomical inputs to the cerebellum suggest that it can compare motor commands and sensory feedback?

A copy of descending input from the cerebrum to the spinal cord, through the pons, and sensory feedback from the spinal cord and special senses like balance, through the medulla, both go to the cerebellum. It can therefore send output through the midbrain that will correct spinal cord control of skeletal muscle movements.

Glossary


Damaged Brain Can Be Repaired And Cerebral Functions Restored, Neuronal Study Suggests

Scientists in the Laboratoire de Neurobiologie des Processus Adaptatifs (CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie) have shown that it is possible to repair an injured brain by creating a small number of new, specifically-targeted innervations, rather than a larger number of non-specific connections. Behavioral tests have demonstrated that such reinnervation can thus restore damaged cerebral functions.

Brain injury in adults can cause irreparable, long-term physical and cognitive damage. However, motor and spatial functions can be recovered if undamaged neurons are stimulated to create new innervation. This type of innervation develops spontaneously after a brain injury in very young children.

Researchers had previously shown &ndash based on injury to the neuronal pathway linking the stem to the cerebellum (1) &ndash it was possible to induce reinnervation in young adults similar to that observed in newborn infants. This repair was rendered possible by treating the damaged cerebellum with a peptide (2) called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which plays a role in the development and satisfactory functioning of this neuronal pathway.

In the present case, the researchers have extended the use of this model and showed that the terminals of new axons interact with the network of undamaged neuronal cells to restore their associated functions, such as synchronized movement and spatial orientation. These results demonstrate a correlation between an improvement in behavior and the degree of reinnervation in the cerebellum. Thus a small amount of correctly-targeted reinnervation makes it possible to recover fine functions such as motor and cognitive skills.

These results open promising new perspectives and make it possible to envisage using BDNF &ndash already employed during clinical trials on the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease &ndash to repair the human brain after a cerebral lesion.

1) This neuronal pathway is referred to as the cerebellum to Purkinje cell climbing fiber pathway and it is implicated in the coordination of movements.

2) A protein that is normally present in the brain and is involved in its development and functioning.

Journal reference: Melina L. Willson, Catriona McElnea, Jean Mariani, Ann M. Lohof, and Rachel M. Sherrard. BDNF increases homotypic olivocerebellar reinnervation and associated fine motor and cognitive skill. Brain on April 1st, 2008.

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Materials provided by CNRS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cerebrum Vs Cerebellum: What Is The Difference?

The cerebrum and the cerebellum are two of the four main regions of the brain. People often confuse them because of their sound-alike names and similar symmetrical structure. Although both play equally important roles in the brain, there are major differences between these two brain regions.

In this article, we’ll conduct a quick cerebrum vs cerebellum comparison.

To explain how these two parts of the brain are different from each other, we will compare their size, their position in the brain, as well as their main functions.


Connectivity between the cerebrum and cerebellum during social and non-social sequencing using dynamic causal modelling

This analysis explores the effective connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebral cortex during the generation of correct sequences of social and non-social events, using dynamic causal modelling (DCM). Our hypothesis is that during human evolution, the cerebellum's function evolved from a mere coordinator of fluent sequences of motions and actions, to an interpreter of action sequences without overt movements that are important for social understanding. This requires efficient neural communication between the cerebellum and cerebral cortex. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, participants generated the correct chronological order of (non-)social events, including stories involving mechanical and social scripts, and true or false beliefs. Across all stories, a DCM analysis of these data revealed, as predicted, bidirectional (closed-loop) connections linking the bilateral posterior cerebellum with the bilateral temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) associated with behavior understanding, and this connectivity pattern was almost entirely significant. There was also a unidirectional connection from the right posterior cerebellum to the precuneus, but no direct connections with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Moreover, all connections emanating from the bilateral posterior cerebellum were negative, indicative of some kind of error signal. Within the cerebral cortex, there were unidirectional connections from the bilateral TPJ to the dmPFC, as well as bidirectional connections between the precuneus and dmPFC, and between the bilateral TPJ. These results confirm that the effective connectivity between the posterior cerebellum and mentalizing areas in the cerebral cortex play a critical role in the understanding and construction of the correct order of social and non-social action sequences.

Keywords: Cerebellum Dynamic causal modelling Effective connectivity Social mentalizing.

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Many studies report about 5% of children and adolescents aged 6� years are diagnosed with ADHD, while 30�% of these individuals will continue to show ADHD symptoms into adulthood (2, 37). The diagnostic criteria of ADHD include three groups of symptoms: (1) attention deficit (easy distractibility, difficulty in concentration), (2) impulsiveness (impatience, negligence, impetuosity, difficulty in postponing answers, and rewards), and (3) hyperactivity (restlessness, agitation, excessive locomotor activity) (38). These groups of symptoms may be attributed to noradrenergic and/or dopaminergic neurotransmission dysfunction (39). Other theories about ADHD suggest a dysfunction to the frontal–subcortical pathway (40), while structural and functional neuroimaging studies show changes in prefrontal cortex, cingulum, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, and cerebral total volume (41�). Multiple studies have also reported cerebellar changes in ADHD (17, 41, 45).

Until now little is known about how the brain develops in ADHD patients during the course of the disorder. Castellanos et al. (46) scanned adolescents diagnosed with ADHD (age 15�) as well as healthy controls, to measure longitudinal changes (over a decade) of brain anatomy and volume. They found volumetric abnormalities with reduced cerebrum and cerebellum size that increased with age, while changes in the caudate nucleus volume disappeared as the subjects got older. These results were found to be unrelated to psychostimulant treatments (46). However, Ivanov et al. (45) found that patients undergoing stimulant treatment have larger overall cerebellar volume than untreated ADHD patients. This difference between treated and untreated patients may reflect the therapeutic mechanisms behind the stimulant treatment. The opposing results between the Castellanos et al. (46) study and Ivanov et al. (45) study may be due to the differences in the focus areas used by each study. Where Ivanov et al. broke down the cerebellum into its smaller regions, Castellanos et al. reported the volume change of the cerebellum as a whole, resulting in the loss of resolution of their data. Mackie et al. (47) conducted a longitudinal study comparing cerebellar differences between children with ADHD and healthy controls over the period of 2� years. ADHD patients were found to have smaller vermis than controls, which did not change with development. Vermis size could also predict the outcome for the patient, where smaller superior vermis volumes predicted poorer outcomes. Additionally, patients with smaller vermis lobules due to stroke or other developmental abnormalities also demonstrate a diminished attention-orienting ability (35, 48).

In sum, reduced cerebellar volume is a prevalent theme across studies investigating cerebellar abnormalities and ADHD. However, to date, these studies have only scanned and tested participants once they have been diagnosed with ADHD. This means that we are unable to determine if the abnormalities in the cerebellum were present from birth or if they developed during the child’s growth, and how this affects the etiology of ADHD. There are numerous longitudinal studies that recruit participants from birth or earlier. If these studies were to implement brain imaging at a young age, we may have a better understanding of how the cerebellum develops and whether there are any structural markers that predict the onset of ADHD in later childhood.


Contents

Each cerebral hemisphere has an outer layer of cerebral cortex which is of grey matter and in the interior of the cerebral hemispheres is an inner layer or core of white matter known as the centrum semiovale. [3] The interior portion of the hemispheres of the cerebrum includes the lateral ventricles, the basal ganglia, and the white matter. [4]

Poles Edit

There are three poles of the cerebrum, the occipital pole, the frontal pole, and the temporal pole. The occipital pole is the posterior end of each occipital lobe in each hemisphere. It is more pointed than the rounder frontal pole. The frontal pole is at the frontmost part of the frontal lobe in each hemisphere, and is more rounded than the occipital pole. The temporal pole is located between the frontal and occipital poles, and sits in the anterior part of middle cranial fossa in each temporal lobe. [5]

If the upper part of either hemisphere is removed, at a level about 1.25 cm above the corpus callosum, the central white matter will be exposed as an oval-shaped area, the centrum semiovale, surrounded by a narrow convoluted margin of gray substance, and studded with numerous minute red dots (puncta vasculosa), produced by the escape of blood from divided blood vessels.

If the remaining portions of the hemispheres be slightly drawn apart a broad band of white substance, the corpus callosum, will be observed, connecting them at the bottom of the longitudinal fissure the margins of the hemispheres which overlap the corpus callosum are called the labia cerebri. [6]

Each labium is part of the cingulate gyrus already described and the groove between it and the upper surface of the corpus callosum is termed the callosal sulcus.

If the hemispheres are sliced off to a level with the upper surface of the corpus callosum, the white substance of that structure will be seen connecting the two hemispheres.

The large expanse of medullary matter now exposed, surrounded by the convoluted margin of gray substance, is called the centrum semiovale. The blood supply to the centrum semiovale is from the superficial middle cerebral artery. [3] The cortical branches of this artery descend to provide blood to the centrum semiovale. [7]

Development Edit

The cerebral hemispheres are derived from the telencephalon. They arise five weeks after conception as bilateral invaginations of the walls. The hemispheres grow round in a C-shape and then back again, pulling all structures internal to the hemispheres (such as the ventricles) with them. The intraventricular foramina (also called the foramina of Monro) allows communication with the lateral ventricles. The choroid plexus is formed from ependymal cells and vascular mesenchyme.

Hemisphere lateralization Edit

Broad generalizations are often made in popular psychology about certain functions (e.g. logic, creativity) being lateralized, that is, located in the right or left side of the brain. These claims are often inaccurate, as most brain functions are actually distributed across both hemispheres. Most scientific evidence for asymmetry relates to low-level perceptual functions rather than the higher-level functions popularly discussed (e.g. subconscious processing of grammar, not "logical thinking" in general). [8] [9] In addition to this lateralization of some functions, the low-level representations also tend to represent the contralateral side of the body.

The best example of an established lateralization is that of Broca's and Wernicke's Areas (language) where both are often found exclusively on the left hemisphere. These areas frequently correspond to handedness however, meaning the localization of these areas is regularly found on the hemisphere opposite to the dominant hand. Function lateralization such as semantics, prosodic, intonation, accentuation, prosody, etc. has since been called into question and largely been found to have a neuronal basis in both hemispheres. [10] [11]

Perceptual information is processed in both hemispheres, but is laterally partitioned: information from each side of the body is sent to the opposite hemisphere (visual information is partitioned somewhat differently, but still lateralized). Similarly, motor control signals sent out to the body also come from the hemisphere on the opposite side. Thus, hand preference (which hand someone prefers to use) is also related to hemisphere lateralization. [ citation needed ]

In some aspects, the hemispheres are asymmetrical the right side is slightly bigger. There are higher levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine on the right and higher levels of dopamine on the left. There is more white matter (longer axons) on the right and more grey matter (cell bodies) on the left. [12]

Linear reasoning functions of language such as grammar and word production are often lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain. In contrast, holistic reasoning functions of language such as intonation and emphasis are often lateralized to the right hemisphere of the brain. Other integrative functions such as intuitive or heuristic arithmetic, binaural sound localization, etc. seem to be more bilaterally controlled. [13]

Infarcts of the centrum ovale can occur. [3]

As a treatment for epilepsy the corpus callosum may be severed to cut the major connection between the hemispheres in a procedure known as a corpus callosotomy.

A hemispherectomy is the removal or disabling of one of the hemispheres of the brain. This is a rare procedure used in some extreme cases of seizures which are unresponsive to other treatments.

The sheep brain seen from the back. Opening longitudinal fissure which separates left and right cerebral hemispheres.

Lateral surface. (The frontal pole is approximately at 10, the occipital pole is approximately at 17, and the temporal pole is approximately at 38.)


The Central Nervous System

The brain and the spinal cord are the central nervous system, and they represent the main organs of the nervous system. The spinal cord is a single structure, whereas the adult brain is described in terms of four major regions: the cerebrum, the diencephalon, the brain stem, and the cerebellum. A person’s conscious experiences are based on neural activity in the brain. The regulation of homeostasis is governed by a specialized region in the brain. The coordination of reflexes depends on the integration of sensory and motor pathways in the spinal cord.

The Cerebrum

The iconic gray mantle of the human brain, which appears to make up most of the mass of the brain, is the cerebrum ([link]). The wrinkled portion is the cerebral cortex, and the rest of the structure is beneath that outer covering. There is a large separation between the two sides of the cerebrum called the longitudinal fissure. It separates the cerebrum into two distinct halves, a right and left cerebral hemisphere. Deep within the cerebrum, the white matter of the corpus callosum provides the major pathway for communication between the two hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.

Many of the higher neurological functions, such as memory, emotion, and consciousness, are the result of cerebral function. The complexity of the cerebrum is different across vertebrate species. The cerebrum of the most primitive vertebrates is not much more than the connection for the sense of smell. In mammals, the cerebrum comprises the outer gray matter that is the cortex (from the Latin word meaning “bark of a tree”) and several deep nuclei that belong to three important functional groups. The basal nuclei are responsible for cognitive processing, the most important function being that associated with planning movements. The basal forebrain contains nuclei that are important in learning and memory. The limbic cortex is the region of the cerebral cortex that is part of the limbic system, a collection of structures involved in emotion, memory, and behavior.

Cerebral Cortex

The cerebrum is covered by a continuous layer of gray matter that wraps around either side of the forebrain—the cerebral cortex. This thin, extensive region of wrinkled gray matter is responsible for the higher functions of the nervous system. A gyrus (plural = gyri) is the ridge of one of those wrinkles, and a sulcus (plural = sulci) is the groove between two gyri. The pattern of these folds of tissue indicates specific regions of the cerebral cortex.

The head is limited by the size of the birth canal, and the brain must fit inside the cranial cavity of the skull. Extensive folding in the cerebral cortex enables more gray matter to fit into this limited space. If the gray matter of the cortex were peeled off of the cerebrum and laid out flat, its surface area would be roughly equal to one square meter.

The folding of the cortex maximizes the amount of gray matter in the cranial cavity. During embryonic development, as the telencephalon expands within the skull, the brain goes through a regular course of growth that results in everyone’s brain having a similar pattern of folds. The surface of the brain can be mapped on the basis of the locations of large gyri and sulci. Using these landmarks, the cortex can be separated into four major regions, or lobes ([link]). The lateral sulcus that separates the temporal lobe from the other regions is one such landmark. Superior to the lateral sulcus are the parietal lobe and frontal lobe, which are separated from each other by the central sulcus. The posterior region of the cortex is the occipital lobe, which has no obvious anatomical border between it and the parietal or temporal lobes on the lateral surface of the brain. From the medial surface, an obvious landmark separating the parietal and occipital lobes is called the parieto-occipital sulcus. The fact that there is no obvious anatomical border between these lobes is consistent with the functions of these regions being interrelated.

Different regions of the cerebral cortex can be associated with particular functions, a concept known as localization of function. In the early 1900s, a German neuroscientist named Korbinian Brodmann performed an extensive study of the microscopic anatomy—the cytoarchitecture—of the cerebral cortex and divided the cortex into 52 separate regions on the basis of the histology of the cortex. His work resulted in a system of classification known as Brodmann’s areas, which is still used today to describe the anatomical distinctions within the cortex ([link]). The results from Brodmann’s work on the anatomy align very well with the functional differences within the cortex. Areas 17 and 18 in the occipital lobe are responsible for primary visual perception. That visual information is complex, so it is processed in the temporal and parietal lobes as well.

The temporal lobe is associated with primary auditory sensation, known as Brodmann’s areas 41 and 42 in the superior temporal lobe. Because regions of the temporal lobe are part of the limbic system, memory is an important function associated with that lobe. Memory is essentially a sensory function memories are recalled sensations such as the smell of Mom’s baking or the sound of a barking dog. Even memories of movement are really the memory of sensory feedback from those movements, such as stretching muscles or the movement of the skin around a joint. Structures in the temporal lobe are responsible for establishing long-term memory, but the ultimate location of those memories is usually in the region in which the sensory perception was processed.

The main sensation associated with the parietal lobe is somatosensation, meaning the general sensations associated with the body. Posterior to the central sulcus is the postcentral gyrus, the primary somatosensory cortex, which is identified as Brodmann’s areas 1, 2, and 3. All of the tactile senses are processed in this area, including touch, pressure, tickle, pain, itch, and vibration, as well as more general senses of the body such as proprioception and kinesthesia, which are the senses of body position and movement, respectively.

Anterior to the central sulcus is the frontal lobe, which is primarily associated with motor functions. The precentral gyrus is the primary motor cortex. Cells from this region of the cerebral cortex are the upper motor neurons that instruct cells in the spinal cord to move skeletal muscles. Anterior to this region are a few areas that are associated with planned movements. The premotor area is responsible for thinking of a movement to be made. The frontal eye fields are important in eliciting eye movements and in attending to visual stimuli. Broca’s area is responsible for the production of language, or controlling movements responsible for speech in the vast majority of people, it is located only on the left side. Anterior to these regions is the prefrontal lobe, which serves cognitive functions that can be the basis of personality, short-term memory, and consciousness. The prefrontal lobotomy is an outdated mode of treatment for personality disorders (psychiatric conditions) that profoundly affected the personality of the patient.

Subcortical structures

Beneath the cerebral cortex are sets of nuclei known as subcortical nuclei that augment cortical processes. The nuclei of the basal forebrain serve as the primary location for acetylcholine production, which modulates the overall activity of the cortex, possibly leading to greater attention to sensory stimuli. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a loss of neurons in the basal forebrain. The hippocampus and amygdala are medial-lobe structures that, along with the adjacent cortex, are involved in long-term memory formation and emotional responses. The basal nuclei are a set of nuclei in the cerebrum responsible for comparing cortical processing with the general state of activity in the nervous system to influence the likelihood of movement taking place. For example, while a student is sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture, the basal nuclei will keep the urge to jump up and scream from actually happening. (The basal nuclei are also referred to as the basal ganglia, although that is potentially confusing because the term ganglia is typically used for peripheral structures.)

The major structures of the basal nuclei that control movement are the caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus, which are located deep in the cerebrum. The caudate is a long nucleus that follows the basic C-shape of the cerebrum from the frontal lobe, through the parietal and occipital lobes, into the temporal lobe. The putamen is mostly deep in the anterior regions of the frontal and parietal lobes. Together, the caudate and putamen are called the striatum. The globus pallidus is a layered nucleus that lies just medial to the putamen they are called the lenticular nuclei because they look like curved pieces fitting together like lenses. The globus pallidus has two subdivisions, the external and internal segments, which are lateral and medial, respectively. These nuclei are depicted in a frontal section of the brain in [link].

The basal nuclei in the cerebrum are connected with a few more nuclei in the brain stem that together act as a functional group that forms a motor pathway. Two streams of information processing take place in the basal nuclei. All input to the basal nuclei is from the cortex into the striatum ([link]). The direct pathway is the projection of axons from the striatum to the globus pallidus internal segment (GPi) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). The GPi/SNr then projects to the thalamus, which projects back to the cortex. The indirect pathway is the projection of axons from the striatum to the globus pallidus external segment (GPe), then to the subthalamic nucleus (STN), and finally to GPi/SNr. The two streams both target the GPi/SNr, but one has a direct projection and the other goes through a few intervening nuclei. The direct pathway causes the disinhibition of the thalamus (inhibition of one cell on a target cell that then inhibits the first cell), whereas the indirect pathway causes, or reinforces, the normal inhibition of the thalamus. The thalamus then can either excite the cortex (as a result of the direct pathway) or fail to excite the cortex (as a result of the indirect pathway).

The switch between the two pathways is the substantia nigra pars compacta, which projects to the striatum and releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine receptors are either excitatory (D1-type receptors) or inhibitory (D2-type receptors). The direct pathway is activated by dopamine, and the indirect pathway is inhibited by dopamine. When the substantia nigra pars compacta is firing, it signals to the basal nuclei that the body is in an active state, and movement will be more likely. When the substantia nigra pars compacta is silent, the body is in a passive state, and movement is inhibited. To illustrate this situation, while a student is sitting listening to a lecture, the substantia nigra pars compacta would be silent and the student less likely to get up and walk around. Likewise, while the professor is lecturing, and walking around at the front of the classroom, the professor’s substantia nigra pars compacta would be active, in keeping with his or her activity level.

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the direct pathway is the shorter pathway through the system that results in increased activity in the cerebral cortex and increased motor activity. The direct pathway is described as resulting in “disinhibition” of the thalamus. What does disinhibition mean? What are the two neurons doing individually to cause this?

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the indirect pathway is the longer pathway through the system that results in decreased activity in the cerebral cortex, and therefore less motor activity. The indirect pathway has an extra couple of connections in it, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus. What is the end result on the thalamus, and therefore on movement initiated by the cerebral cortex?

The Myth of Left Brain/Right Brain There is a persistent myth that people are “right-brained” or “left-brained,” which is an oversimplification of an important concept about the cerebral hemispheres. There is some lateralization of function, in which the left side of the brain is devoted to language function and the right side is devoted to spatial and nonverbal reasoning. Whereas these functions are predominantly associated with those sides of the brain, there is no monopoly by either side on these functions. Many pervasive functions, such as language, are distributed globally around the cerebrum.

Some of the support for this misconception has come from studies of split brains. A drastic way to deal with a rare and devastating neurological condition (intractable epilepsy) is to separate the two hemispheres of the brain. After sectioning the corpus callosum, a split-brained patient will have trouble producing verbal responses on the basis of sensory information processed on the right side of the cerebrum, leading to the idea that the left side is responsible for language function.

However, there are well-documented cases of language functions lost from damage to the right side of the brain. The deficits seen in damage to the left side of the brain are classified as aphasia, a loss of speech function damage on the right side can affect the use of language. Right-side damage can result in a loss of ability to understand figurative aspects of speech, such as jokes, irony, or metaphors. Nonverbal aspects of speech can be affected by damage to the right side, such as facial expression or body language, and right-side damage can lead to a “flat affect” in speech, or a loss of emotional expression in speech—sounding like a robot when talking.

The Diencephalon

The diencephalon is the one region of the adult brain that retains its name from embryologic development. The etymology of the word diencephalon translates to “through brain.” It is the connection between the cerebrum and the rest of the nervous system, with one exception. The rest of the brain, the spinal cord, and the PNS all send information to the cerebrum through the diencephalon. Output from the cerebrum passes through the diencephalon. The single exception is the system associated with olfaction, or the sense of smell, which connects directly with the cerebrum. In the earliest vertebrate species, the cerebrum was not much more than olfactory bulbs that received peripheral information about the chemical environment (to call it smell in these organisms is imprecise because they lived in the ocean).

The diencephalon is deep beneath the cerebrum and constitutes the walls of the third ventricle. The diencephalon can be described as any region of the brain with “thalamus” in its name. The two major regions of the diencephalon are the thalamus itself and the hypothalamus ([link]). There are other structures, such as the epithalamus, which contains the pineal gland, or the subthalamus, which includes the subthalamic nucleus that is part of the basal nuclei.

Thalamus

The thalamus is a collection of nuclei that relay information between the cerebral cortex and the periphery, spinal cord, or brain stem. All sensory information, except for the sense of smell, passes through the thalamus before processing by the cortex. Axons from the peripheral sensory organs, or intermediate nuclei, synapse in the thalamus, and thalamic neurons project directly to the cerebrum. It is a requisite synapse in any sensory pathway, except for olfaction. The thalamus does not just pass the information on, it also processes that information. For example, the portion of the thalamus that receives visual information will influence what visual stimuli are important, or what receives attention.

The cerebrum also sends information down to the thalamus, which usually communicates motor commands. This involves interactions with the cerebellum and other nuclei in the brain stem. The cerebrum interacts with the basal nuclei, which involves connections with the thalamus. The primary output of the basal nuclei is to the thalamus, which relays that output to the cerebral cortex. The cortex also sends information to the thalamus that will then influence the effects of the basal nuclei.

Hypothalamus

Inferior and slightly anterior to the thalamus is the hypothalamus, the other major region of the diencephalon. The hypothalamus is a collection of nuclei that are largely involved in regulating homeostasis. The hypothalamus is the executive region in charge of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system through its regulation of the anterior pituitary gland. Other parts of the hypothalamus are involved in memory and emotion as part of the limbic system.

Brain Stem

The midbrain and hindbrain (composed of the pons and the medulla) are collectively referred to as the brain stem ([link]). The structure emerges from the ventral surface of the forebrain as a tapering cone that connects the brain to the spinal cord. Attached to the brain stem, but considered a separate region of the adult brain, is the cerebellum. The midbrain coordinates sensory representations of the visual, auditory, and somatosensory perceptual spaces. The pons is the main connection with the cerebellum. The pons and the medulla regulate several crucial functions, including the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and rates.

The cranial nerves connect through the brain stem and provide the brain with the sensory input and motor output associated with the head and neck, including most of the special senses. The major ascending and descending pathways between the spinal cord and brain, specifically the cerebrum, pass through the brain stem.

Midbrain

One of the original regions of the embryonic brain, the midbrain is a small region between the thalamus and pons. It is separated into the tectum and tegmentum, from the Latin words for roof and floor, respectively. The cerebral aqueduct passes through the center of the midbrain, such that these regions are the roof and floor of that canal.

The tectum is composed of four bumps known as the colliculi (singular = colliculus), which means “little hill” in Latin. The inferior colliculus is the inferior pair of these enlargements and is part of the auditory brain stem pathway. Neurons of the inferior colliculus project to the thalamus, which then sends auditory information to the cerebrum for the conscious perception of sound. The superior colliculus is the superior pair and combines sensory information about visual space, auditory space, and somatosensory space. Activity in the superior colliculus is related to orienting the eyes to a sound or touch stimulus. If you are walking along the sidewalk on campus and you hear chirping, the superior colliculus coordinates that information with your awareness of the visual location of the tree right above you. That is the correlation of auditory and visual maps. If you suddenly feel something wet fall on your head, your superior colliculus integrates that with the auditory and visual maps and you know that the chirping bird just relieved itself on you. You want to look up to see the culprit, but do not.

The tegmentum is continuous with the gray matter of the rest of the brain stem. Throughout the midbrain, pons, and medulla, the tegmentum contains the nuclei that receive and send information through the cranial nerves, as well as regions that regulate important functions such as those of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The word pons comes from the Latin word for bridge. It is visible on the anterior surface of the brain stem as the thick bundle of white matter attached to the cerebellum. The pons is the main connection between the cerebellum and the brain stem. The bridge-like white matter is only the anterior surface of the pons the gray matter beneath that is a continuation of the tegmentum from the midbrain. Gray matter in the tegmentum region of the pons contains neurons receiving descending input from the forebrain that is sent to the cerebellum.

Medulla

The medulla is the region known as the myelencephalon in the embryonic brain. The initial portion of the name, “myel,” refers to the significant white matter found in this region—especially on its exterior, which is continuous with the white matter of the spinal cord. The tegmentum of the midbrain and pons continues into the medulla because this gray matter is responsible for processing cranial nerve information. A diffuse region of gray matter throughout the brain stem, known as the reticular formation, is related to sleep and wakefulness, such as general brain activity and attention.

The Cerebellum

The cerebellum, as the name suggests, is the “little brain.” It is covered in gyri and sulci like the cerebrum, and looks like a miniature version of that part of the brain ([link]). The cerebellum is largely responsible for comparing information from the cerebrum with sensory feedback from the periphery through the spinal cord. It accounts for approximately 10 percent of the mass of the brain.

Descending fibers from the cerebrum have branches that connect to neurons in the pons. Those neurons project into the cerebellum, providing a copy of motor commands sent to the spinal cord. Sensory information from the periphery, which enters through spinal or cranial nerves, is copied to a nucleus in the medulla known as the inferior olive. Fibers from this nucleus enter the cerebellum and are compared with the descending commands from the cerebrum. If the primary motor cortex of the frontal lobe sends a command down to the spinal cord to initiate walking, a copy of that instruction is sent to the cerebellum. Sensory feedback from the muscles and joints, proprioceptive information about the movements of walking, and sensations of balance are sent to the cerebellum through the inferior olive and the cerebellum compares them. If walking is not coordinated, perhaps because the ground is uneven or a strong wind is blowing, then the cerebellum sends out a corrective command to compensate for the difference between the original cortical command and the sensory feedback. The output of the cerebellum is into the midbrain, which then sends a descending input to the spinal cord to correct the messages going to skeletal muscles.

The Spinal Cord

The description of the CNS is concentrated on the structures of the brain, but the spinal cord is another major organ of the system. Whereas the brain develops out of expansions of the neural tube into primary and then secondary vesicles, the spinal cord maintains the tube structure and is only specialized into certain regions. As the spinal cord continues to develop in the newborn, anatomical features mark its surface. The anterior midline is marked by the anterior median fissure, and the posterior midline is marked by the posterior median sulcus. Axons enter the posterior side through the dorsal (posterior) nerve root, which marks the posterolateral sulcus on either side. The axons emerging from the anterior side do so through the ventral (anterior) nerve root. Note that it is common to see the terms dorsal (dorsal = “back”) and ventral (ventral = “belly”) used interchangeably with posterior and anterior, particularly in reference to nerves and the structures of the spinal cord. You should learn to be comfortable with both.

On the whole, the posterior regions are responsible for sensory functions and the anterior regions are associated with motor functions. This comes from the initial development of the spinal cord, which is divided into the basal plate and the alar plate. The basal plate is closest to the ventral midline of the neural tube, which will become the anterior face of the spinal cord and gives rise to motor neurons. The alar plate is on the dorsal side of the neural tube and gives rise to neurons that will receive sensory input from the periphery.

The length of the spinal cord is divided into regions that correspond to the regions of the vertebral column. The name of a spinal cord region corresponds to the level at which spinal nerves pass through the intervertebral foramina. Immediately adjacent to the brain stem is the cervical region, followed by the thoracic, then the lumbar, and finally the sacral region. The spinal cord is not the full length of the vertebral column because the spinal cord does not grow significantly longer after the first or second year, but the skeleton continues to grow. The nerves that emerge from the spinal cord pass through the intervertebral formina at the respective levels. As the vertebral column grows, these nerves grow with it and result in a long bundle of nerves that resembles a horse’s tail and is named the cauda equina. The sacral spinal cord is at the level of the upper lumbar vertebral bones. The spinal nerves extend from their various levels to the proper level of the vertebral column.

Gray Horns

In cross-section, the gray matter of the spinal cord has the appearance of an ink-blot test, with the spread of the gray matter on one side replicated on the other—a shape reminiscent of a bulbous capital “H.” As shown in [link], the gray matter is subdivided into regions that are referred to as horns. The posterior horn is responsible for sensory processing. The anterior horn sends out motor signals to the skeletal muscles. The lateral horn, which is only found in the thoracic, upper lumbar, and sacral regions, is the central component of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.

Some of the largest neurons of the spinal cord are the multipolar motor neurons in the anterior horn. The fibers that cause contraction of skeletal muscles are the axons of these neurons. The motor neuron that causes contraction of the big toe, for example, is located in the sacral spinal cord. The axon that has to reach all the way to the belly of that muscle may be a meter in length. The neuronal cell body that maintains that long fiber must be quite large, possibly several hundred micrometers in diameter, making it one of the largest cells in the body.

White Columns

Just as the gray matter is separated into horns, the white matter of the spinal cord is separated into columns. Ascending tracts of nervous system fibers in these columns carry sensory information up to the brain, whereas descending tracts carry motor commands from the brain. Looking at the spinal cord longitudinally, the columns extend along its length as continuous bands of white matter. Between the two posterior horns of gray matter are the posterior columns. Between the two anterior horns, and bounded by the axons of motor neurons emerging from that gray matter area, are the anterior columns. The white matter on either side of the spinal cord, between the posterior horn and the axons of the anterior horn neurons, are the lateral columns. The posterior columns are composed of axons of ascending tracts. The anterior and lateral columns are composed of many different groups of axons of both ascending and descending tracts—the latter carrying motor commands down from the brain to the spinal cord to control output to the periphery.

Watch this video to learn about the gray matter of the spinal cord that receives input from fibers of the dorsal (posterior) root and sends information out through the fibers of the ventral (anterior) root. As discussed in this video, these connections represent the interactions of the CNS with peripheral structures for both sensory and motor functions. The cervical and lumbar spinal cords have enlargements as a result of larger populations of neurons. What are these enlargements responsible for?

Basal Nuclei Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the basal nuclei, specifically of the substantia nigra, that demonstrates the effects of the direct and indirect pathways. Parkinson’s disease is the result of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta dying. These neurons release dopamine into the striatum. Without that modulatory influence, the basal nuclei are stuck in the indirect pathway, without the direct pathway being activated. The direct pathway is responsible for increasing cortical movement commands. The increased activity of the indirect pathway results in the hypokinetic disorder of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is neurodegenerative, meaning that neurons die that cannot be replaced, so there is no cure for the disorder. Treatments for Parkinson’s disease are aimed at increasing dopamine levels in the striatum. Currently, the most common way of doing that is by providing the amino acid L-DOPA, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine and can cross the blood-brain barrier. With levels of the precursor elevated, the remaining cells of the substantia nigra pars compacta can make more neurotransmitter and have a greater effect. Unfortunately, the patient will become less responsive to L-DOPA treatment as time progresses, and it can cause increased dopamine levels elsewhere in the brain, which are associated with psychosis or schizophrenia.

Visit this site for a thorough explanation of Parkinson’s disease.

Compared with the nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, the human has a brain that is huge. At a point in the past, a common ancestor gave rise to the two species of humans and chimpanzees. That evolutionary history is long and is still an area of intense study. But something happened to increase the size of the human brain relative to the chimpanzee. Read this article in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened.

According to one hypothesis about the expansion of brain size, what tissue might have been sacrificed so energy was available to grow our larger brain? Based on what you know about that tissue and nervous tissue, why would there be a trade-off between them in terms of energy use?

Chapter Review

The adult brain is separated into four major regions: the cerebrum, the diencephalon, the brain stem, and the cerebellum. The cerebrum is the largest portion and contains the cerebral cortex and subcortical nuclei. It is divided into two halves by the longitudinal fissure.

The cortex is separated into the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. The frontal lobe is responsible for motor functions, from planning movements through executing commands to be sent to the spinal cord and periphery. The most anterior portion of the frontal lobe is the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with aspects of personality through its influence on motor responses in decision-making.

The other lobes are responsible for sensory functions. The parietal lobe is where somatosensation is processed. The occipital lobe is where visual processing begins, although the other parts of the brain can contribute to visual function. The temporal lobe contains the cortical area for auditory processing, but also has regions crucial for memory formation.

Nuclei beneath the cerebral cortex, known as the subcortical nuclei, are responsible for augmenting cortical functions. The basal nuclei receive input from cortical areas and compare it with the general state of the individual through the activity of a dopamine-releasing nucleus. The output influences the activity of part of the thalamus that can then increase or decrease cortical activity that often results in changes to motor commands. The basal forebrain is responsible for modulating cortical activity in attention and memory. The limbic system includes deep cerebral nuclei that are responsible for emotion and memory.

The diencephalon includes the thalamus and the hypothalamus, along with some other structures. The thalamus is a relay between the cerebrum and the rest of the nervous system. The hypothalamus coordinates homeostatic functions through the autonomic and endocrine systems.

The brain stem is composed of the midbrain, pons, and medulla. It controls the head and neck region of the body through the cranial nerves. There are control centers in the brain stem that regulate the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The cerebellum is connected to the brain stem, primarily at the pons, where it receives a copy of the descending input from the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It can compare this with sensory feedback input through the medulla and send output through the midbrain that can correct motor commands for coordination.

Interactive Link Questions

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the direct pathway is the shorter pathway through the system that results in increased activity in the cerebral cortex and increased motor activity. The direct pathway is described as resulting in “disinhibition” of the thalamus. What does disinhibition mean? What are the two neurons doing individually to cause this?

Both cells are inhibitory. The first cell inhibits the second one. Therefore, the second cell can no longer inhibit its target. This is disinhibition of that target across two synapses.

Watch this video to learn about the basal nuclei (also known as the basal ganglia), which have two pathways that process information within the cerebrum. As shown in this video, the indirect pathway is the longer pathway through the system that results in decreased activity in the cerebral cortex, and therefore less motor activity. The indirect pathway has an extra couple of connections in it, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus. What is the end result on the thalamus, and therefore on movement initiated by the cerebral cortex?

By disinhibiting the subthalamic nucleus, the indirect pathway increases excitation of the globus pallidus internal segment. That, in turn, inhibits the thalamus, which is the opposite effect of the direct pathway that disinhibits the thalamus.

Watch this video to learn about the gray matter of the spinal cord that receives input from fibers of the dorsal (posterior) root and sends information out through the fibers of the ventral (anterior) root. As discussed in this video, these connections represent the interactions of the CNS with peripheral structures for both sensory and motor functions. The cervical and lumbar spinal cords have enlargements as a result of larger populations of neurons. What are these enlargements responsible for?

There are more motor neurons in the anterior horns that are responsible for movement in the limbs. The cervical enlargement is for the arms, and the lumbar enlargement is for the legs.

Compared with the nearest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, the human has a brain that is huge. At a point in the past, a common ancestor gave rise to the two species of humans and chimpanzees. That evolutionary history is long and is still an area of intense study. But something happened to increase the size of the human brain relative to the chimpanzee. Read this article in which the author explores the current understanding of why this happened.

According to one hypothesis about the expansion of brain size, what tissue might have been sacrificed so energy was available to grow our larger brain? Based on what you know about that tissue and nervous tissue, why would there be a trade-off between them in terms of energy use?

Energy is needed for the brain to develop and perform higher cognitive functions. That energy is not available for the muscle tissues to develop and function. The hypothesis suggests that humans have larger brains and less muscle mass, and chimpanzees have the smaller brains but more muscle mass.

Review Questions

Which lobe of the cerebral cortex is responsible for generating motor commands?

What region of the diencephalon coordinates homeostasis?

What level of the brain stem is the major input to the cerebellum?

What region of the spinal cord contains motor neurons that direct the movement of skeletal muscles?

Brodmann’s areas map different regions of the ________ to particular functions.

Critical Thinking Questions

Damage to specific regions of the cerebral cortex, such as through a stroke, can result in specific losses of function. What functions would likely be lost by a stroke in the temporal lobe?

The temporal lobe has sensory functions associated with hearing and vision, as well as being important for memory. A stroke in the temporal lobe can result in specific sensory deficits in these systems (known as agnosias) or losses in memory.

Why do the anatomical inputs to the cerebellum suggest that it can compare motor commands and sensory feedback?

A copy of descending input from the cerebrum to the spinal cord, through the pons, and sensory feedback from the spinal cord and special senses like balance, through the medulla, both go to the cerebellum. It can therefore send output through the midbrain that will correct spinal cord control of skeletal muscle movements.

Glossary


Cerebrum Vs Cerebellum: What Is The Difference?

The cerebrum and the cerebellum are two of the four main regions of the brain. People often confuse them because of their sound-alike names and similar symmetrical structure. Although both play equally important roles in the brain, there are major differences between these two brain regions.

In this article, we’ll conduct a quick cerebrum vs cerebellum comparison.

To explain how these two parts of the brain are different from each other, we will compare their size, their position in the brain, as well as their main functions.


Cerebellum Brain Damage: Conclusion

Cerebellar damage can cause serious problems with muscle coordination. Fortunately, recovery is possible.

The key to healing any brain injury, including cerebellar injuries, is to engage your brain’s neuroplasticity. You need to keep your body and mind active if you want to make progress.

If you commit to doing your therapy exercises every day, you should start to see some improvements in your balance, coordination, and cognitive skills, depending on how severe your injury was.

We hope this guide to cerebellum brain damage gives you the tools you need to make a great recovery.


Current perspectives on the cerebellum and reading development

The dominant neural models of typical and atypical reading focus on the cerebral cortex. However, Nicolson et al. (2001) proposed a model, the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, in which the cerebellum plays an important role in reading. To evaluate the evidence in support of this model, we qualitatively review the current literature and employ meta-analytic tools examining patterns of functional connectivity between the cerebellum and the cerebral reading network. We find evidence for a phonological circuit with connectivity between the cerebellum and a dorsal fronto-parietal pathway, and a semantic circuit with cerebellar connectivity to a ventral fronto-temporal pathway. Furthermore, both cerebral pathways have functional connections with the mid-fusiform gyrus, a region implicated in orthographic processing. Consideration of these circuits within the context of the current literature suggests the cerebellum is positioned to influence both phonological and word-based decoding procedures for recognizing unfamiliar printed words. Overall, multiple lines of research provide support for the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, while also highlighting the need for further research to test mechanistic hypotheses.

Keywords: Cerebellar deficit hypothesis Decoding Network Phonological Reading development Semantic.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Figures

Proposed cerebellar components that contribute…

Proposed cerebellar components that contribute to the development of reading according to a…

Comparison of the three reading-related…

Comparison of the three reading-related networks as determined by the ALE and Neurosynth…

Functional connectivity results between the…

Functional connectivity results between the cerebral regions within the reading network and the…

Top 12 terms (highest z…

Top 12 terms (highest z -value) corresponding to the seed-voxel for the functionally…

Cerebro-cerebellar dorsal circuit. Dashed line…

Cerebro-cerebellar dorsal circuit. Dashed line indicates a proposed indirect cerebellar support in developing…


What Is The Role Of The Cerebrum?

The cerebrum is the anterior part of the brain. As large as a cantaloupe, this region accounts for about 85% of the total brain weight.

So, what does the cerebrum do ?

This region is responsible for high brain functions like thinking, learning, and memory. The cerebrum is also in charge of organization, planning, and language processing. In addition, this part of the brain is also tasked with interpreting and processing the information obtained from the five senses.

The outside of the cerebrum is covered with a thin layer of gray matter called the cerebral cortex . This part of the cerebrum is in charge of your motor skills and helps the brain control voluntary movements.

Furthermore, the cortex also has association areas that allow you to perceive ideas and objects in a meaningful way. It also has centers that help you control your impulses and manage your anger.

To ensure that your cerebrum is working to its full potential, you need to give your brain a good mental workout every day. The best way to do this is by constantly learning new things.

If knowledge is power, learning is your superpower.

— Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Program

What Is The Main Function Of The Cerebellum?

Moving clockwise from the cerebrum we find the cerebellum , another vital region of the brain.

The cerebellum is much smaller than the cerebrum – approximately only one-eighth of its size. However, this region houses upwards of 50 billion neurons, which is more than half of all the neurons in the brain.

While the motor area of the cerebral cortex plans and controls your voluntary movements, the cerebellum is in charge of carrying them out. Namely, this part of the brain activates all the muscles in your body needed to make the movement that you want to make.

In addition to this, the cerebellum also ensures that your muscles are well-synchronized and that no muscles or muscle groups are providing opposition to the movement that you’re making. What’s more, the cerebellum is also responsible for maintaining your balance and posture while you’re moving.

Because of the functions they perform, the cerebrum was historically considered the “conscious” part of the brain, whereas the cerebellum was seen as the “unconscious” part. However, recent research has challenged this notion by proving that the cerebellum may be responsible for regulating our thoughts .


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Many studies report about 5% of children and adolescents aged 6� years are diagnosed with ADHD, while 30�% of these individuals will continue to show ADHD symptoms into adulthood (2, 37). The diagnostic criteria of ADHD include three groups of symptoms: (1) attention deficit (easy distractibility, difficulty in concentration), (2) impulsiveness (impatience, negligence, impetuosity, difficulty in postponing answers, and rewards), and (3) hyperactivity (restlessness, agitation, excessive locomotor activity) (38). These groups of symptoms may be attributed to noradrenergic and/or dopaminergic neurotransmission dysfunction (39). Other theories about ADHD suggest a dysfunction to the frontal–subcortical pathway (40), while structural and functional neuroimaging studies show changes in prefrontal cortex, cingulum, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, and cerebral total volume (41�). Multiple studies have also reported cerebellar changes in ADHD (17, 41, 45).

Until now little is known about how the brain develops in ADHD patients during the course of the disorder. Castellanos et al. (46) scanned adolescents diagnosed with ADHD (age 15�) as well as healthy controls, to measure longitudinal changes (over a decade) of brain anatomy and volume. They found volumetric abnormalities with reduced cerebrum and cerebellum size that increased with age, while changes in the caudate nucleus volume disappeared as the subjects got older. These results were found to be unrelated to psychostimulant treatments (46). However, Ivanov et al. (45) found that patients undergoing stimulant treatment have larger overall cerebellar volume than untreated ADHD patients. This difference between treated and untreated patients may reflect the therapeutic mechanisms behind the stimulant treatment. The opposing results between the Castellanos et al. (46) study and Ivanov et al. (45) study may be due to the differences in the focus areas used by each study. Where Ivanov et al. broke down the cerebellum into its smaller regions, Castellanos et al. reported the volume change of the cerebellum as a whole, resulting in the loss of resolution of their data. Mackie et al. (47) conducted a longitudinal study comparing cerebellar differences between children with ADHD and healthy controls over the period of 2� years. ADHD patients were found to have smaller vermis than controls, which did not change with development. Vermis size could also predict the outcome for the patient, where smaller superior vermis volumes predicted poorer outcomes. Additionally, patients with smaller vermis lobules due to stroke or other developmental abnormalities also demonstrate a diminished attention-orienting ability (35, 48).

In sum, reduced cerebellar volume is a prevalent theme across studies investigating cerebellar abnormalities and ADHD. However, to date, these studies have only scanned and tested participants once they have been diagnosed with ADHD. This means that we are unable to determine if the abnormalities in the cerebellum were present from birth or if they developed during the child’s growth, and how this affects the etiology of ADHD. There are numerous longitudinal studies that recruit participants from birth or earlier. If these studies were to implement brain imaging at a young age, we may have a better understanding of how the cerebellum develops and whether there are any structural markers that predict the onset of ADHD in later childhood.


Connectivity between the cerebrum and cerebellum during social and non-social sequencing using dynamic causal modelling

This analysis explores the effective connectivity of the cerebellum with the cerebral cortex during the generation of correct sequences of social and non-social events, using dynamic causal modelling (DCM). Our hypothesis is that during human evolution, the cerebellum's function evolved from a mere coordinator of fluent sequences of motions and actions, to an interpreter of action sequences without overt movements that are important for social understanding. This requires efficient neural communication between the cerebellum and cerebral cortex. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, participants generated the correct chronological order of (non-)social events, including stories involving mechanical and social scripts, and true or false beliefs. Across all stories, a DCM analysis of these data revealed, as predicted, bidirectional (closed-loop) connections linking the bilateral posterior cerebellum with the bilateral temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) associated with behavior understanding, and this connectivity pattern was almost entirely significant. There was also a unidirectional connection from the right posterior cerebellum to the precuneus, but no direct connections with the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Moreover, all connections emanating from the bilateral posterior cerebellum were negative, indicative of some kind of error signal. Within the cerebral cortex, there were unidirectional connections from the bilateral TPJ to the dmPFC, as well as bidirectional connections between the precuneus and dmPFC, and between the bilateral TPJ. These results confirm that the effective connectivity between the posterior cerebellum and mentalizing areas in the cerebral cortex play a critical role in the understanding and construction of the correct order of social and non-social action sequences.

Keywords: Cerebellum Dynamic causal modelling Effective connectivity Social mentalizing.

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Damaged Brain Can Be Repaired And Cerebral Functions Restored, Neuronal Study Suggests

Scientists in the Laboratoire de Neurobiologie des Processus Adaptatifs (CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie) have shown that it is possible to repair an injured brain by creating a small number of new, specifically-targeted innervations, rather than a larger number of non-specific connections. Behavioral tests have demonstrated that such reinnervation can thus restore damaged cerebral functions.

Brain injury in adults can cause irreparable, long-term physical and cognitive damage. However, motor and spatial functions can be recovered if undamaged neurons are stimulated to create new innervation. This type of innervation develops spontaneously after a brain injury in very young children.

Researchers had previously shown &ndash based on injury to the neuronal pathway linking the stem to the cerebellum (1) &ndash it was possible to induce reinnervation in young adults similar to that observed in newborn infants. This repair was rendered possible by treating the damaged cerebellum with a peptide (2) called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which plays a role in the development and satisfactory functioning of this neuronal pathway.

In the present case, the researchers have extended the use of this model and showed that the terminals of new axons interact with the network of undamaged neuronal cells to restore their associated functions, such as synchronized movement and spatial orientation. These results demonstrate a correlation between an improvement in behavior and the degree of reinnervation in the cerebellum. Thus a small amount of correctly-targeted reinnervation makes it possible to recover fine functions such as motor and cognitive skills.

These results open promising new perspectives and make it possible to envisage using BDNF &ndash already employed during clinical trials on the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease &ndash to repair the human brain after a cerebral lesion.

1) This neuronal pathway is referred to as the cerebellum to Purkinje cell climbing fiber pathway and it is implicated in the coordination of movements.

2) A protein that is normally present in the brain and is involved in its development and functioning.

Journal reference: Melina L. Willson, Catriona McElnea, Jean Mariani, Ann M. Lohof, and Rachel M. Sherrard. BDNF increases homotypic olivocerebellar reinnervation and associated fine motor and cognitive skill. Brain on April 1st, 2008.

Story Source:

Materials provided by CNRS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Contents

Each cerebral hemisphere has an outer layer of cerebral cortex which is of grey matter and in the interior of the cerebral hemispheres is an inner layer or core of white matter known as the centrum semiovale. [3] The interior portion of the hemispheres of the cerebrum includes the lateral ventricles, the basal ganglia, and the white matter. [4]

Poles Edit

There are three poles of the cerebrum, the occipital pole, the frontal pole, and the temporal pole. The occipital pole is the posterior end of each occipital lobe in each hemisphere. It is more pointed than the rounder frontal pole. The frontal pole is at the frontmost part of the frontal lobe in each hemisphere, and is more rounded than the occipital pole. The temporal pole is located between the frontal and occipital poles, and sits in the anterior part of middle cranial fossa in each temporal lobe. [5]

If the upper part of either hemisphere is removed, at a level about 1.25 cm above the corpus callosum, the central white matter will be exposed as an oval-shaped area, the centrum semiovale, surrounded by a narrow convoluted margin of gray substance, and studded with numerous minute red dots (puncta vasculosa), produced by the escape of blood from divided blood vessels.

If the remaining portions of the hemispheres be slightly drawn apart a broad band of white substance, the corpus callosum, will be observed, connecting them at the bottom of the longitudinal fissure the margins of the hemispheres which overlap the corpus callosum are called the labia cerebri. [6]

Each labium is part of the cingulate gyrus already described and the groove between it and the upper surface of the corpus callosum is termed the callosal sulcus.

If the hemispheres are sliced off to a level with the upper surface of the corpus callosum, the white substance of that structure will be seen connecting the two hemispheres.

The large expanse of medullary matter now exposed, surrounded by the convoluted margin of gray substance, is called the centrum semiovale. The blood supply to the centrum semiovale is from the superficial middle cerebral artery. [3] The cortical branches of this artery descend to provide blood to the centrum semiovale. [7]

Development Edit

The cerebral hemispheres are derived from the telencephalon. They arise five weeks after conception as bilateral invaginations of the walls. The hemispheres grow round in a C-shape and then back again, pulling all structures internal to the hemispheres (such as the ventricles) with them. The intraventricular foramina (also called the foramina of Monro) allows communication with the lateral ventricles. The choroid plexus is formed from ependymal cells and vascular mesenchyme.

Hemisphere lateralization Edit

Broad generalizations are often made in popular psychology about certain functions (e.g. logic, creativity) being lateralized, that is, located in the right or left side of the brain. These claims are often inaccurate, as most brain functions are actually distributed across both hemispheres. Most scientific evidence for asymmetry relates to low-level perceptual functions rather than the higher-level functions popularly discussed (e.g. subconscious processing of grammar, not "logical thinking" in general). [8] [9] In addition to this lateralization of some functions, the low-level representations also tend to represent the contralateral side of the body.

The best example of an established lateralization is that of Broca's and Wernicke's Areas (language) where both are often found exclusively on the left hemisphere. These areas frequently correspond to handedness however, meaning the localization of these areas is regularly found on the hemisphere opposite to the dominant hand. Function lateralization such as semantics, prosodic, intonation, accentuation, prosody, etc. has since been called into question and largely been found to have a neuronal basis in both hemispheres. [10] [11]

Perceptual information is processed in both hemispheres, but is laterally partitioned: information from each side of the body is sent to the opposite hemisphere (visual information is partitioned somewhat differently, but still lateralized). Similarly, motor control signals sent out to the body also come from the hemisphere on the opposite side. Thus, hand preference (which hand someone prefers to use) is also related to hemisphere lateralization. [ citation needed ]

In some aspects, the hemispheres are asymmetrical the right side is slightly bigger. There are higher levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine on the right and higher levels of dopamine on the left. There is more white matter (longer axons) on the right and more grey matter (cell bodies) on the left. [12]

Linear reasoning functions of language such as grammar and word production are often lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain. In contrast, holistic reasoning functions of language such as intonation and emphasis are often lateralized to the right hemisphere of the brain. Other integrative functions such as intuitive or heuristic arithmetic, binaural sound localization, etc. seem to be more bilaterally controlled. [13]

Infarcts of the centrum ovale can occur. [3]

As a treatment for epilepsy the corpus callosum may be severed to cut the major connection between the hemispheres in a procedure known as a corpus callosotomy.

A hemispherectomy is the removal or disabling of one of the hemispheres of the brain. This is a rare procedure used in some extreme cases of seizures which are unresponsive to other treatments.

The sheep brain seen from the back. Opening longitudinal fissure which separates left and right cerebral hemispheres.

Lateral surface. (The frontal pole is approximately at 10, the occipital pole is approximately at 17, and the temporal pole is approximately at 38.)


Watch the video: Brain Lateralization: The Split Brain (August 2022).