Brainstem:

Brainstem:

The brainstem is a stem-like structure present at the base of the brain. It connects the spinal cord and the brain and is crucial for the flow of messages between the rest of the body and the brain. The brainstem consists of ten of the twelve pairs of cranial nerves. It is vital for many functions of the body including sensory and motor systems. It transmits messages of the sensory and motor systems from their respective centers in the brain to the rest of the body. The nerves that pass through the brainstem provide sensory perception of vibration sensation, pain, temperature, itching, fine touch and crude touch. These nerves are also responsible for the perception of proprioception, which is the sense of a person to gauge the relative position and the sense of effort to move the body. The nerves in the brainstem is also responsible for many cardiac and respiratory functions in terms of regulation and control. The brainstem is also responsible for regulating the central nervous system. Its other functions include the control of eating and sleeping. Apart from these, the brainstem is also responsible for a person maintaining alertness, blood pressure, digestion, and arousal. Since the brainstem consists of sections of both the midbrain and the hindbrain, it plays a key role in regulating the body’s functions. The brainstem consists of the midbrain, the pons and medulla. Blood supply to the brainstem is done by the basilar artery and vertebral arteries. Brainstem diseases include stroke, hemorrhage, and formation of cysts, tumors, and brainstem injury. These conditions manifest with some common symptoms like vision changes, abnormalities in the pupil, vertigo, hearing loss, and change of voice, difficulty swallowing and others. Brainstem death is a condition in which a person has absolutely no reflexes in the brainstem pathways. It is a comatose condition in which the patient is dependent on the ventilator for survival. Recent research in the direction of the involvement of diabetic neuropathy in the central nervous system might have implications on brainstem disorders.

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