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Anatomy of the Brain

The brain controls the body. You can move, see, talk, and feel because of the brain. And it's the brain that makes you able to think, to show emotions, and to make judgments. The brain is protected by the skull, tissue, and fluid.

Functions of the brain

Each part of the brain has a certain role. Some skills and traits occur in more than one section. The brain has large sections on each side called cerebral hemispheres. These control many higher functions, such as movement, language, behavior, and sensation. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. And the left hemisphere controls the body’s right side. Parts of each hemisphere have very specific functions, such as understanding spoken or written words, or controlling emotions. The cerebellum is mostly responsible for coordinating movements. The brain stem controls many of the functions of our head and face. This includes eye movement, face movement, and swallowing. But it also controls many vital functions, such as breathing. Many of the connections between the brain and the rest of the body must pass through the brain stem.

Side view of head and brain.

Protecting the brain

There are 3 layers of tissue called meninges. This helps protect the brain. The outer covering of tissue is called the dura mater. It closely lines the inside of the skull. The second layer is the arachnoid mater. The third layer is the pia mater. It hugs the surface of the brain. The brain is cushioned and supported by a special fluid called the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF fills the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater. Spaces within the brain called ventricles make the CSF. Arteries and veins carry blood to and from the brain. Without a fresh supply of blood, brain tissue quickly dies.

Online Medical Reviewer: Anne Fetterman RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph Campellone MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2022
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