The brain is responsible for controlling our bodies and keeping us alive. The brain also controls the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is the network of nerves that regulates involuntary functions such as heart rate, digestion, breathing and blood pressure.
There are two types of nerves in the ANS: sympathetic and parasympathetic. Sympathetic nerves stimulate or excite organs, glands and muscles. Parasympathetic nerves inhibit these actions.
The brain has a higher level of coordination than other parts of the body, because it controls them.
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1. Pineal Gland
The pineal gland is located at the base of the brain, just above the spinal cord and below the thalamus. It is considered the third eye of the body, and is responsible for producing melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles and circadian rhythms. In addition to regulating sleep patterns, the pineal gland produces serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. These hormones regulate mood, appetite, sexual desire, and many other bodily processes.
The hypothalamus is the highest coordinating center in the brain. It controls the pituitary gland, which in turn controls the production of hormones throughout the body. The hypothalamus also controls the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary physiological activities.
The thalamus is the second-highest coordinating center in the brain, after the hypothalamus. It receives sensory information from the cerebral cortex and relays it to the rest of the brain. It also coordinates motor activity and movement.
The cerebellum is the largest structure in the brain. It is involved in coordination and balance, and helps maintain posture and equilibrium.
The hippocampus is a seahorse shaped region of the brain that is involved in memory formation. It is located deep within the temporal lobe.
The amygdala is a small almond shaped section of the limbic system, which is involved in emotional responses. It is located near the hippocampus.
7. Cingulate Cortex
The cingulate gyrus is a triangular-shaped portion of the frontal lobes of the brain. It is believed to play a role in motivation, decision making, and cognitive control.