Brain: anatomy, function, diagram of the human brain.

Brain: anatomy, function, diagram of the human brain.

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The brain regulates all vital functions of the human body. Anatomy, role of the organism, diseases, examinations, diagram… Exploration with Dr. Michel Gugenheim, neurologist and president of the ANLLF, Association of Liberal Neurologists of the French Language.

Well protected by the bones of the skull, the brain is the control center of the human body “It’s a bit like the board, confirms Dr. Michel Gugenheim. Send and receive messages that allow a uninterrupted communication between the outside world and oneself.

The brain has control of all organs of the human bodymotor and cognitive functions, as well as hormone production. “It is he who controls motor skills, sensitivity, balance, memory and emotions” the specialist continues.

The brain is made up of three elements:

On the surface of the cerebral hemispheres is a layer of brain tissue (the bark) called gray matter because of its gray color. “It’s the brain sheathexplains the neurologist. the the cortex is the starting point of the motor pathways that play an essential role in the control of movement and gait. The cerebrum includes the diencephalon (thalamus, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland) and the two cerebral hemispheres that communicate with each other through a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum.

For simplicity, the cortex is divided into four lobes:

  • the frontal lobe : involved in higher cognitive tasks such as problem solving, thinking, planning, and emotions.
  • the parietal lobe : involved in sensory processes, attention and language.
  • the occipital lobe : in the back part of the brain that is involved in visual information, including the recognition of shapes and colors.
  • the temporal lobe : which plays an important role in the encoding of auditory information and in the integration of information from other sensory modalities.

In the deep regions of the brain, we also find the midbrain plays an important role in visual and auditory reflexes, as well as in hindbrain which allows the control of the respiratory rhythm, the cardiac activity and the level of glucose in the blood.

Brain diagram. © 123RF

Of many pathologies can affect the brain including: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraine, brain tumors and strokes.

► The Alzheimer disease is a neurodegenerative pathology characterized by memory disorders, as well as progressive disturbances in orientation, language (aphasia), writing (dysorthography), movement coordination (apraxia), mood (depression, irritability), and sleep ( insomnia). “Beware, not all memory loss means you have Alzheimer’s disease, reassures the neurologist. There can be many other causes, such as fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, taking medications, alcohol, or drugs. As we age, we also tend to be less attentive, which affects our ability to memorize.

► Theepilepsy : is a neurological disease It affects about 500,000 people in France, half of whom are under 20 years old. “It is a kind of short circuit between neurons that will lead to unpredictable, sudden and often very brief crises that take various forms” explains Dr. Gugenheim. We speak of partial or generalized epileptic seizure depending on the symptoms that range from involuntary muscle contractions to loss of consciousness.

► The Parkinson’s disease : is a neurodegenerative pathology of the central nervous system whose three main symptoms are tremors at rest, slowness and difficulty in movement (akinesia) and muscle hypertonia. “C’est une maladie des dopaminergic neurons: dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a charged molecule that transmits information between neurons. Lorsque the production or circulation of dopamine is affected, les cellules nerveuses communiquent wrong.”

► The multiple sclerosis : inflammatory and degenerative pathology of the brain and spinal cord, Multiple sclerosis or MS is a disease of young adults that develops in outbreaks or gradually. “Multiple sclerosis is the leading cause of nontraumatic acquired disability in young adults.”

► Thestroke : o CVA means the occlusion or rupture of an artery that carries blood to the brain. “It is a medical emergency, remembers the specialist. It can be fatal and the later the treatment, the more serious the sequelae can be”.

► The Brain tumor : which can be benign or malignant in nature. “Some non-cancerous tumors grow in the skull and cause complications depending on where they are due to limited space” says the neurologist.

To visualize the anatomy of the brain, the neurologist may ask an MRI or a brain scan. The electroencephalogram (or EEG) allows, for its part, to measure its electrical activity.

“There are several brain specialists: first, the neurologist in charge of the “organic” brain, the psychiatrist in charge of the “chemical” brain, and the neurosurgeon who performs the surgeries” Dr. Gugenheim concludes.

Thanks to Dr. Michel Gugenheim, neurologist and president of the ANLLF, Association of Liberal Neurologists of the French Language.

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