Brainstem [Show Notes]


Brainstem Basics

Your brainstem is the most basic area of the brain.  The area of the brain that we have in common with almost all other levels of the animal kingdom.  It extends right into the spinal cord.  A lot of other whole body involuntary reflexes come from the spinal cord – that’s another story for another day).

3 main parts

  • Medulla oblongata – rhythm center (heart rate, breathing, swallowing, vomiting and coughing reflex) – they’re all involuntary
  • Pons (not ponds) – the bridge between the cerebellum hemispheres and other brain regions, helps coordinate the right side and left side of your body for complex activities
  • Midbrain – sensory reflexes (also involuntary) – blinking, eye focusing, pupil dilation in response to light, visual and auditory startling reflex that kick-starts the “fight or flight cascade”.

Other eye focusing problems are not rooted in the midbrain. They are more likely rooted in the areas of the brain that control orbital muscles or in the areas that translate what your eyes are seeing, like a “lazy eye” or drifting eye or being cross-eyed.  There are therapies that doctors prescribe to try and strengthen the weak eye.  Blinking is usually a response to eye moisture.

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Music Credits:  “Radio Martini” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/