Encyclopedia of the human brain pdf

The vertebrate brain is the main part of encyclopedia of the human brain pdf central nervous system. It is protected by the skull and close to the main senses of vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell. As an animal moves forward, its senses collect data about the surroundings, and that data goes directly to the brain.


The brain controls the other organs of the body, either by activating muscles or by causing secretion of chemicals such as hormones and neurotransmitters. In vertebrates, the spinal cord by itself can cause reflex responses as well as simple movement such as swimming or walking. However, sophisticated control of behaviour requires a centralized brain. The structure of all vertebrate brains is basically the same.

At the same time, during the course of evolution, the vertebrate brain has undergone changes, and become more effective. In so-called ‘lower’ animals, most or all of the brain structure is inherited, and therefore their behaviour is mostly instinctive. In mammals, and especially in man, the brain is developed further during life by learning.

This has the benefit of helping them fit better into their environment. The capacity to learn is seen best in the cerebral cortex. The brain and nervous system is essentially a system which makes connections. It has input from sense organs and output to muscles.

It is connected in several ways with the endocrine system, which makes hormones, and the digestive system and sex system. Hormones work slowly, so those changes are gradual. The brain is a kind of department store.

It has, all inter-connected, departments which do different things. They all help each other gather senses. Much of what the body does is not conscious.

But, basically, much of the body runs on automatic, adjusted by the autonomic nervous system. The brain, too, does much of its work without a person noticing it. The unconscious mind refers to the brain activities which are seldom noticed.

Corresponding regions of human and shark brain are shown. Several brain areas have kept their identities across the whole range of vertebrates, from hagfishes to humans. Here is a list of some of the most important areas, with a brief description of their functions as currently understood.

These functions may still be disputed to some degree. These include the heart beat and blood pressure, breathing, and vomiting. The pons is a relay station, carrying messages between the cerebrum and the medulla and cerebellum.