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Definition of Brainstem

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Brainstem: The lowest part of the brain which merges with the spinal cord and provides the major route by which the upper realms of the brain send information to, and receives information from, the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The brainstem consists of the medulla oblongata, midbrain, and pons. All but two of the 12 cranial nerves originate in the brainstem. The brainstem influences basic processes such as alertness, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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