brain stem(redirected from brain-stem)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
brain stem,lower part of the brainbrain,
the supervisory center of the nervous system in all vertebrates. It also serves as the site of emotions, memory, self-awareness, and thought. Anatomy and Function
..... Click the link for more information. , adjoining and structurally continuous with the spinal cord. The upper segment of the human brain stem, the pons, contains nerve fibers that connect the two halves of the cerebellumcerebellum
, portion of the brain that coordinates movements of voluntary (skeletal) muscles. It contains about half of the brain's neurons, but these particular nerve cells are so small that the cerebellum accounts for only 10% of the brain's total weight.
..... Click the link for more information. . It is vital in coordinating movements involving right and left sides of the body. Below the pons and continuous with the spinal cord is the medulla, which transmits ascending and descending nerve fibers between the spinal cord and the brain. The medulla also directly controls many involuntary muscular and glandular activities, including breathing, heart contraction, artery dilation, salivation, vomiting, and probably laughing. The nuclei of some of the nerves that originate in the brain are also located in the brain stem. Nerve fibers in the brain stem do not readily regenerate, hence injury may result in permanent loss of function. See also nervous systemnervous system,
network of specialized tissue that controls actions and reactions of the body and its adjustment to the environment. Virtually all members of the animal kingdom have at least a rudimentary nervous system.
..... Click the link for more information. .