June 2, 2018
The nervous system is a network full of nerve cells and tissues to transmit impulses around the body. In the nervous system, there are different parts of it that have different jobs for the body to function especially in the brain. In the nervous system, the brain is the main central link for the whole body. Each part of the brain does different jobs but also work together for the body to function. However, if damaged, it can cause severe consequences to the body whether it’s with motor functions, sight, hearing, and even cause death. The parts of the brain that will be discussed is the brain stem, the cerebellum, the cerebral hemispheres of the 4 lobes, the hippocampus, and the amygdala.
The brainstem is located at the bottom base of the brain and is connected to the spinal cord. It is responsible for many of the neural functions that keep us alive, including regulating our respiration, heart rate, and digestion (Biswas). Without it, we wouldn’t be alive and moving since it regulates essential needs of the body. However, when the brain stem is damaged, the body cannot function without outside help. That’s why when there is severe damage to the brain stem, people will be put into life support machines. Life support in hospitals are machines used to keep patients alive when the brain stem is damaged (Biswas). When the brain stem is too severely damaged, the person will be considered brain dead since there is no longer has any brain stem functions which causes permanent loss of consciousness and the capacity to breathe.
The cerebellum is located at the back of the brain near the brain stem. The cerebellum plays an important role in motor control, and it may also be involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language as well as in regulating fear and pleasure responses (Biswas). When damaged, it can produce disorders in movements such as losing the movement in limbs and even the posture of the person affected. Not only the movement is affected but also the motor learning of the person is compromised such as having trouble with structuring sentences and critical thinking.
The cerebral hemispheres are responsible for our cognitive abilities and conscious
Experience (Biswas). Within the cerebral hemisphere are four lobes with different cognitive abilities that keep the body in function. The four different lobes are the occipital lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, and the frontal lobe. The occipital lobe is mainly responsible for vision in a person (Biswas). When the occipital lobe is damaged, it can result in a wide range of the loss of visual capability. This would involve the inability to identify colors, cause hallucinations and confusion, and even cause severe vision loss or total blindness. The temporal lobe’s main function is involved in auditory processing, memory, and the convergence of vision and audition (Biswas). When damaged, it can result in the disturbance of auditory sensation and perception. This would include having a hard time paying attention to what they see or hear, hard to comprehend language, loss of both factual and long-term memory, and even emotional disturbances. The parietal lobe houses the somatosensory (body sensations) cortex and structures involved in visual attention, as well as multisensory convergence zones (Biswas). If the parietal lobe suffers damage, it can cause a variety of visual difficulties. This would include difficulty in reading and recognizing people and objects. The ability to multi-task is also affected as well as mathematical ability and recognition of the difference between right and left can be diminished when the parietal lobe is damaged. Lastly, the frontal lobe houses the motor cortex and structures involved in motor planning, language, judgment, and decision-making (Biswas). The frontal lobe is the brains largest lobe and when it’s damage, it can cause a change in the regulation of mood and emotions. The damage can cause impairments in judgment, shorter attention span and organizational ability, as well as a loss of motivation which can lead to depression.
The hippocampus is in the medial temporal lobe of the brain and is responsible for the formation of new long-term memory (Biswas). When damaged, it causes the person to experience short-term memory loss like an Alzheimer’s patient. The amygdala is located deep in the temporal lobe of the brain beside the hippocampus. This part of the brain helps regulate strong emotions and memory (Biswas). When damaged, it can cause emotional disorders due to the amygdala no longer regulating the stimuli of the emotions.
Biswas-Diener, Robert, and Ed Diener. Discover Psychology 2.0: A Brief Introductory Text. Noba, 2016