Brain Stem Definition
Brain Stem refers to the stem-like area of the brain that joins the cerebrum with the spinal column. This is a mass of nervous tissues. It is tubular in shape, and is slightly more than 8 cm or 3 inches in length.
It is known as Truncus encephali in Latin and as Tronc cerebral in French.
Brain Stem Location
Where is the brain stem located? Brain stem is situated at the basal area of the brain, and is placed in a position that is inferior to the cerebrum and superior to the spinal cord. The brain stem tends to ascends from the spinal column, and it becomes wider as well as more complex in its external as well as internal structures.
Brain Stem Anatomy
There are the 3 important brain stem parts. The main parts of the brain stem are:
The medulla happens to be the bottom-most area of the brain stem that is responsible for attaching the brain to the spinal column. Tube-like in shape, it is structurally quite similar to the spinal cord. However, it is wider and internally comprises of several gray matter masses.
The pons is in a superior position to the medulla. It is larger and more complex in structure than the medulla.
The midbrain is the most complex and superior area of the brain stem.
The brain stem exterior comprises of white matter that transmits nerve signals in the stem, to other areas of the brain as well as to the spinal column. Nuclei, which are masses of gray matter, are in charge of processing in the stem. All through the brain stem there is the reticular formation, which is a network of white and gray matter. The network extends all through the brain stem interior and plays a major role in stimulating the body muscles and the cerebrum.
Brain Stem Function
What does the brain stem do? It appears as if the entire reason for the brain stem to exist is to hold up your brain. However, it plays an important part to ensure your survival. Other than maintaining the connection between the spinal cord and the brain, it coordinates many vital reflexes and can maintain important control of the lungs and the heart. This is the main function of the brain stem.
It contains the medulla oblongata, mesencephalon and pons, the 3 parts of the brain stem.
What does the Brain stem control?
It is responsible for relaying information to the cerebellum or cerebrum from the body and vice versa. It has vital processing centers and comprises of cranial nerves 3-12.
Brain Stem Stroke
It is a stroke in the brainstem that occurs once the flow of blood to the brainstem is disrupted. This kind of stroke can be life threatening, given that after Brain stem damage a brainstem is unable to control the vital functions of the body.
Brain stem stroke can of two primary types:
Ischemic stroke happens to be the most common form of stroke.
Some of the commonest symptoms of brain stem stroke include:
Brain stem death occurs when the brain stem stops functioning, and the patient loses the ability to breathe or has lost the ability to be conscious permanently.
Brain stem stroke recovery differs with each patient, and depends on:
Brain Stem Tumor
A Brain Stem Tumor is a cancerous tumor arising in the brainstem that is also known as Glioma.
The symptoms of such type of Brain stem cancer include:
This is a dangerous and aggressive form of cancer, and there is low Brain stem tumor survival rate. In the absence of proper treatment for tumor on Brain stem, survival rate for over 1 year is 37%, for 2 years is 20% and for 3 years is 13%. Brain stem death is quite common.
Brain stem Surgery
Some forms of Brain stem glioma can be cured through surgery. In DIPG, the normal brain tissue cannot be isolated from the glioma, and surgical resection is impossible. Many cases of non-DIPG brainstem glioma result in hydrocephalus. Surgery can include easing the pressure in the brain. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is chosen for hydrocephalus treatment, as it can prevent the possible risks related with the insertion of a permanent shunt device. A shunt is a viable alternative if ETV is impossible.
Brain stem Pictures
The following Brain stem diagrams and images will help you to know how it looks like.
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