The Brainstem



The Brainstem is located deep in the brain and leads to the spinal cord. It is considered the stalk of the brain. All nerve fibers pass through here, including the cranial nerves. The brainstem performs sensory, motor, and reflex functions. Its primary importance is the vital nerve centre that controls heart action, blood vessels diameter, and respiration.


Damage to the temporal lobe significantly affects these skills.

  • Decreased vital capacity in breathing – important for speech
  • Heart rate
  • Swallowing food and water
  • Reflexes to seeing and hearing (Startled Response)
  • Sweating, blood pressure, digestion, temperature (Autonomic Nervous System)
  • Affects level of alertness and ability to sleep
  • Sense of balance (Vestibular Function)
  • Difficulties (Insomnia, Sleep Apnea)
  • Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo)

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