UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: The Brainstem

Keywords: brainstem, cranial nerves (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/14/2008 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 10/28/2020)
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  • The brainstem is the lower extension of the brain that connects the brain to the spinal cord.
  • Neurological functions located in the brainstem include those necessary for survival (breathing, digestion, heart rate, blood pressure) and for arousal (being awake and alert).
  • Most of the cranial nerves come from the brainstem.  The brainstem is the pathway for all fiber tracts passing up and down from peripheral nerves and spinal cord to the highest parts of the brain.