Brainstem definition

The brainstem , also called the brain stem , is a structure that consists of the medulla oblongata , the annular protuberance, and the mesencephalon . It is a key region for heart rate and breathing, among other organic functions.


In addition to all the above, it is worth knowing a series of interesting facts about the brainstem that can be as curious as important:

  • – It is also called the brain stem and curiously is believed to have appeared, first, in species of Living beings that did not resemble humans.
  • It has a lot of fundamental and important elements for the man, so much so that if they are harmed it can cause death immediately.
    -interest in what is the maintenance of consciousness.
  • It also plays a fundamental role in regulating the sleep cycle.
    “It should not be overlooked that he controls hiccups, coughs and sneezes.
  • In the same way, it is considered to be vital in terms of vomiting, swallowing capacity and sensitivity that the individual in question has to the pain.


The medulla oblongata,  is the segment of the brainstem below. It is located below the annular protuberance and above the spinal cord. The medulla oblongata is responsible for the regulation of gastric, respiratory and cardiac functions, as well as transmitting nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the encephalon.

The annular protuberance, whose other denominations are bridge of Varolio and truncusencephalic bridge , is located on the medulla bulb and below the mesencephalon. Thanks to this protuberance, the medulla bulb and spinal cord are connected to the cerebellum and the cerebral hemispheres.

Midbrain, finally, is the top segment of the brainstem and is also called brain half .

It must also be stated that the midbrain is crossed by an element that responds to the name of Silvio’s aqueduct. It is a rather narrow duct that has the mission of allowing it to circulate what is the cerebrospinal fluid. In the same way, it is necessary to say that the mesencephalon plays a fundamental role in what is the movement of the eyes, the coordination and even the sending of information that occurs between the brain and the motor nerves as well as between the spinal cord and brain.

It is important to mention that the brainstem is composed of white matter and gray matter . The white substance houses nuclei of gray matter, between which the reticular substance and the segmental centers can be distinguished.


The different nuclei of the brainstem, on the other hand, are linked by fibers that reach from the spinal cord to the cerebellum.

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