Brain components

The brain is composed of more than a thousand billion neurons. Specific groups of them, working in concert, provide us with the capacity to reason, to experience feelings, and to understand the world. They also give us the capacity to remember numerous pieces of information.

The 3 major components of the brain are the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.

The cerebrum is divided into left and right hemispheres, each composed of a frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobe. The cerebral cortex (gray matter) is the outside portion of the cerebrum and provides us with functions associated with conscious thought. The grooves and folds increase the cerebrum?s surface area, allowing us to have a tremendous amount of gray matter inside of the skull. Deep to the gray matter is the cerebral "white matter." The white matter provides for the communication between the cortex and lower central nervous system centers.

The cerebellum is located near the base of the head. It creates automatic programs so we can make complex movements without thinking.

The brain stem connects the brain with the spinal cord and is composed of 3 structures: the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata. The brain stem provides us with automatic functions that are necessary for survival.

Reviewed By: Luc Dupont Jasmin, MD, PhD, FRCS (C), FACS, Department Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA. Department of Surgery Ashland Community Hospital, Ashland, OR. Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed HealthCare Network.
Review Date: November 29, 2012

A.D.A.M. quality A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process, and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation ( www.HONcode.ch.)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. A.D.A.M. ©1997-2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Advertisement
 
 

Sign Up for Free Newsletters

View All Newsletters

Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!

Get FREE tools and tips to get
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!

The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.