• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Structure and functions of the human brain

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

a) Draw a diagram to show the structure of the human brain. b) Outline the function of the following regions of the human brain: medulla oblongata, cerebellum, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, cerebral hemisphere. Medulla oblongata: The medulla oblongata contains the neural centres of the autonomic nervous system and therefore controls automatic activities such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, swallowing digestion, production of saliva etc. Cerebellum: The cerebellum is responsible for unconscious functions such as movement and balance. It receives information from the balance organs in the ears and from receptors in muscles and tendons which indicate how stretched the muscles are. However, the cerebellum does not initiate movements but only controls them. Therefore, a damage of this part of the brain would result in uncoordinated movement. Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus basically is the link between the brain and the endocrine system. It produces the hormones which are later secreted by the posterior pituitary gland and stimulates the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary gland by nerve impulses. ...read more.

Middle

In the earlier years of brain research tests have been done on animals, preferably primates as their brain has the most similarities with a human brain. For the experiments scientists had to remove parts of the skull to get access to the brain. The animals were then either given stimuli or they had small parts of the brain removed after which the scientists observed what effects these surgical processes had on the behaviour of the tested animal. However, in order to be able to observe the animals the experiments had to be carried out on living animals, called vivisection. During such procedures many animals suffered or even died. Obviously many scientists and animal right activists had ethical objections to the experiments so that they were performed more rarely. In the 1890s scientists discovered a new method to observe brain functions: they observed brain lesions, damaged areas in the brain, to study the functioning of the brain. ...read more.

Conclusion

First a high-resolution scan of the person or object to be observed is taken before the subject of the experiment is given a stimulus and a series of low-resolution scans are taken. On these scans changes in the blood flow in the brain can be seen and the areas can be linked to a specific function. For example, if people have to follow a moving object on a screen with a cursor, this requires the coordination of sight, eye movement and hand movement and thus the region which coordinates these receive increased blood flow which can be clearly seen on fMRI scans taken from people performing such an action as on the picture below. The advantages of the fMRI scanning technique is that it can be done on healthy human individuals; scientists do not rely anymore on ill people having brain lesions and they do not have to sacrifice animals anymore, instead they can do repeated studies on humans and also animals without there being any ethical objections to it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Biology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Biology essays

  1. Biology- Extended essay. For this research, I investigated the effects of DDT and ...

    The results should be recorded in a manner like the result tables shown below. INVESTIGATION I: TO STUDY THE OPERCULAR RESPONSE OF CIRRHINUS CIRRHOSUS UNDER DIFFERENT DOSES OF DDT IN LABORATORY CONDITIONS. After carrying out the procedure suggested for Investigation 1.

  2. Lung Capacity Fitness Level

    when carrying out multiple trials on the same participant, the same spirometer can be reused on the same participant - Use a new mouth piece for each participant and immediately dispose the mouth piece into a 'USED' plastic bag after trials are completed Method Table for recording result Name Age;

  1. LAB-What infuences blood pressure

    in rest twice by using sphygmomanometer, 3. Record all obtained results, subscribing each person to the number, 4. Take the body measurement (height, weight, waist size) and write them down in appropriate places in the table, 5. Check whether people smoke or not, 6. When having mass and height, calculate body mass index, 7.

  2. Should Animals have the same rights as Humans? Both animals and humans exhibit behaviours ...

    In other words evolution, through the genes, equips the young birds with prior knowledge of a world in which food comes out of adult herring gull beaks when a marked area is pecked. The models with red dots were pecked three times more than the other models.

  1. Activated sludge wastewater treatment system and method

    A waste processing system as defined in claim 1, wherein said apparatus for introducing said first conditioner is controlled to maintain the pH in said first container between approximately four and eleven. 27. A waste processing system as defined in claim 26, wherein said apparatus for introducing said first

  2. How are interactions between neural cells established and maintained?

    The mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) is derived from bone marrow and able to self regenerate and differentiate into several different types of cells in vivo (Kondo et al. 2005). MSCs are able to form both neuronal and glial cells; the difference relating to the presence or absence or voltage gated ion channels; indicative of the potential to develop into a full neuronal cell.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work