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What are the major regions of the brain?

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Quick Answer

The major areas of the brain are forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain. The forebrain is divided into the cerebrum and the diencephalon. The hindbrain contains the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum, while the midbrain is the area between the diencephalon and the medulla oblongata.

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Full Answer

The cerebrum is the largest part of the human brain. It has two halves which are connected by nerve cells and fibers called the corpus callosum. Each half of the cerebrum is further divided into lobes. They are the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes.

The diencephalon contains the hypothalamus, the subthalamus and the thalamus. The hypothalamus controls functions such as hunger and thirst, and emotions such as fear and anger. The subthalamus and the thalamus carry impulses to and from other areas of the brain.

The medulla oblongata is an extension of the spinal cord into the back of a person's head. Nerve fibers that connect to other areas of the brain pass through the medulla oblongata. It controls breathing, heartbeat, swallowing, muscle tone and the circulation of blood. It also helps control the sense of balance in the ears.

The cerebellum controls a person's posture, movement and balance. It receives signals from the sensory organs as well as the muscles and skin.

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