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cavities within the brain

Cerebral Hemispheres

the most superior part of the brain; enclose and obscure most of the brain stem


outward folds of the surface of the cerebral cortex


furrows on the brain, less deep than a fissure

Somatic Sensory Area

located in the parietal lobe; impulses traveling from the body's sensory receptors (except for special sense) are localized and interpreted in this area of the brain; allows you to recognize pain, coldness, or a light touch

Parietal Lobe

posterior to the central sulcus; allows the senses of touch, pain, and temperature to be interpreted here; has sensory cortex

Occipital Lobe

poasterior part of the brain; where the visual area is located

Temporal Lobe

bordering the lateral sulcus on the sides of the brain; where the auditory area is located

Primary Motor Area

allows us to consciously move our skeletal muscles is anterior to the central sulcus in the frontal lobe

Frontal Lobe

contains the primary motor area; in front of brain; where your personality is "located"

Broca's Area

a specialized area that is very involved in our ability to speak and is found at the base of the precentral gyrus; located in only one cerebral hemisphere (usually the left)

Speech Area

located at the junction of the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes and allows one to sound out words; language comprehension

Gray Matter

the gray area of the central nervous system; contains unmyelinated nerve fibers and nerve cell bodies

Cerebral Cortex

gray matter of the cerebrum; is highly ridged and convoluted, providing more room for the thousands of neurons found there

Cerebral White Matter

most of the remaining cerebral hemisphere tissue that is composed of fiber tracts (bundles of nerve fibers) carrying impulses to or from the cortex

Corpus Callosum

very large fiber tract that connects the cerebral hemispheres above the structures of the brain stem; allows the cerebral hemispheres to communicate with one another

Basal Nuclei

gray matter areas deep within the white matter of the cerebral hemispheres


that part of the forebrain between the cerebral hemispheres and the midbrain including the thalamus, the third ventricle, and the hypothalamus


a mass of gray matter in the diencephalon of the brain


the region of the diencephalon forming the floor of the third ventricle of the brain

Limbic System

"emotional-visceral brain," involves sex drives, thirst, appetite, sex, pain, pleasure, and emotions; regulates hormones

Pituitary Gland

the neuroendocrine gland located beneath the brain that serves a variety of functions including regulation of the gonads, thyroid, adrenal cortex, water balance, and lactation

Mammilary Bodies

reflex centers involved in olfaction (the sense of smell) that bulge from the floor of the hypothalamus posterior to the pituitary gland

Brain Stem

the portion of the brain consisting of the medulla, pons, and midbrain


a relatively small part of the brain stem that extends form the mammillary bodies to the pons inferiorly


the brain area connecting the medulla with the midbrain, providing linkage between upper and lower levels of the central nervous system

Medulla Oblongata

most inferior part of the brain stem; merges into the spinal cord below; important fiber tract that contains centers that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, swallowing, and vomiting

Reticular Formation

gray matter in which the neurons are involved in motor control of the visceral organs


special group of reticular formation neurons that plays a role in consciousness and the awake/sleep cycles


part of the hindbrain; involved in producing smoothly coordinated skeletal muscle activity


the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord

Dura Mater

the outermost and toughest of the three membranes (meninges) covering the brain and spinal cord

Arachnoid Mater

the weblike middle layer of the three meninges; attaches to the pia mater

Pia Mater

innermost membrane of the brain that is delicate and clings tightly to the surface of the brain and spinal cord, following every fold

Arachnoid Villi

specialized projections of the arachnoid membrane that portrude through the dura mater; allows the cerebrospinal fluid to be absorbed into the venous blood in the dural sinuses

Cerebrospinal Fluid

the fluid produced in the cerebral ventricles; fills the ventricles and surrounds the central nervous system

Blood-Brain Barrier

a mechanism that inhibits passage of materials from the blood into brain tissues


occurs when brain injury is slight; victim may be dizzy, "see stars," or lose consciousness briefly, but no permanent brain damage occurs


result of marked tissue destruction; can result in a coma

Cerebral Edema

swelling of the brain due to inflammatory response to injury


commonly called strokes; occurs when blood circulation to a brain area is blocked and vital brain tissue dies

Spinal Cord

glistening white continuation of the brain stem; provides a two-way conduction pathway to and from the brain and is a major reflex center

Dorsal Horns

posterior projections of gray matter of the spinal cord

Ventral Horns

anterior projections of gray matter of the spinal cord

Central Canal

contains CSF; surrounded by gray matter

Dorsal Root

allows fibers of cell bodies of the sensory interneurons to get to the spinal cord; fuses with ventral roots to form spinal nerves

Ventral Root

sends out axons of the somatic (voluntary) nervous system to go out of the cord; fuses with dorsal roots to form spinal nerves

Posterior, Lateral, and Anterior Columns

contains a number of fiber tracts made up of axons with the same destination and fucntion; tracts conducting sensory impulses to the brain are sensory, or afferent, tracts; tracts carrying impulses from the brain to skeletal muscles are motor, or efferent, tracts

Posterior Columns

tracts are ascending that carry sensory input to the brain

Lateral and Anterior Columns

tracts contain both ascending and descending (motor) tracts


bundle of neuron processes (axons) outside the central nervous system


delicate connective tissue sheath that surrounds each nerve fiber


coarser connective tissue wrapping that binds groups of fibers together


bundles of nerve fibers bound together by connective tissue


tough fibrous sheath that binds all the fascicles together

Mixed Nerves

nerves containing the processes of motor and sensory neurons; their impulses travel to and from the central nervous system


a network of interlacing nerves, blood vessels, or lymphatics

Autonomic Nervous System

the division of the nervous system that functions involuntarily; innervates cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and glands

Sympathetic Division

a division of the autonomic nervous system; opposes parasympathetic functions; called the flight-or-flight division

Parasympathetic Division

a division of the autonomic nervous system; also referred to as the craniosacral division

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