Starting with the oldest structures, our central nervous system (CNS) is broken down into several elements:
The spinal cord is the communication highway between the brain and the rest of the body; it has many relay stations and is the seat of all reflex activities (such as automatically taking your hand off a burning plate).
The brain stem contains the breath and heart control centres, the cranial nerves, as well as some areas that control the state of alertness of the individual.
On the back of the brainstem, we find the cerebellum. It is involved in the coordination and timing of movements and brain activity. The cerebellum contains more than 50% of the brains neurons and is integral to the brains ability to learn. Recent studies have shown that it also plays an essential role in coordinating visceral functions, emotions and attention.
Above the brain stem, we find the diencephalon which is made up of the thalamus – the relay centre for all the sensory information (except the sense of smell) that are moving up to the cortex – and the hypothalamus – which is the control centre for hormones and glands.
Finally, we find the telencephalon which is made of two cerebral hemispheres and the basal ganglia.
The cerebral hemispheres are made of four lobes (frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital) and the limbic system, which is the seat of emotions.
The basal ganglia are a series of nuclei or centres involved in movement control.
The integration and syncing of information from various parts of the brain is essential. While the brain tissue itself may be intact, the function and connection between parts of the brain may not. This is part of the focus of our program at BC Brain Wellness.