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Flashcards in Brainstem Deck (41)
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Describe the conduit, cranial nerve, and integrative functions of the brainstem.

conduit- acts like a "pipe" to transfer info from brain to spinal cord

cranial nerve- the brainstem takes care of the same sensory and motor functions for the head that the spinal cord does for the body

integrative functions- reticular formation controls the maintenance of consciousness


Describe the characteristic gross anatomical features of the medulla.

includes pyramids, olives, and part of the 4th ventricle


Describe the characteristic gross anatomical features of the pons.

includes the basal pons, middle cerebellar peduncles, and part of the 4th ventricle


Describe the characteristic gross anatomical features of the midbrain.

includes superior and inferior colliculi, the cerebral peduncles and the cerebral aqueduct


Describe the posterior fossa and tentorium:

What forms the floor of posterior fossa?
What forms the roof of posterior fossa?
What major brain subdivisions are found in the posterior fossa?

floor- occiput (some temporal bone)
major brain subdivisions- cerebellum, brainstem


What are the colliculi? Where do they sit? What are they termed?

The colliculi are 4 little “hills” which sit upon the dorsum of the midbrain and are also termed collectively the tectum.


Describe the functions of the Inferior and superior colliculi.

The IC are involved in hearing, the SC are concerned with vision.

“slo-aim”---Superior colliculi talk to the Lateral geniculate which is dealing with Optic functions, while the Auditory system uses the Inferior colliculi which communicate with the Medial geniculate


Describe the 3 cerebellar peduncles.

There exists 3 sets of cerebellar peduncles---The superior is efferent and is in the midbrain, the middle is afferent and attaches to the pons, the inferior is afferent and is associated with the medulla.


Describe the 2 cerebral peduncles

There are 2 cerebral peduncles—their home is the midbrain and they connect the cerebrum with the brainstem and thus spinal cord.—all of these peduncles consist of fibers—mostly myelinated—thus white matter staining black with a myelin stain.


Describe the olive.

The olive connects to the dentate nucleus of the cerebellum, and looks like it on cross section. Fibers leaving the olive and travelling to the cerebellum are termed “climbing fibers”.


Describe the pyramid.

The pyramid consists of pyramidal tract fibers of the CST. It decussates as the medulla becomes the spinal cord.


Describe the 4th ventricle.

The 4th ventricle sits above the medulla and below the cerebellum. It has 4 major openings—inferiorly the obex opens into the central canal and superiorly the aqueduct of sylvius opens into the 4th ventricle. Also---CSF flows out of the 4th ventricle via the Lateral placed foramen of Lushka, and out the posterior Midline foramen of Magendi.


Where does the cortex project?

The cortex projects to the pontine gray nuclei which then project contralaterally to the cerebellum—”mossy fibers”


Which is the main CN coming out of pons?



How is the facial colliculus formed?

The facial colliculus is formed by the 7th nerve coursing over the 6th nucleus


What is the pineal gland near?

3rd ventricle.


Which is only CN to come off dorsum of brainstem?



What do mammilary bodies do?

Mammillary bodies play a role in memory—connect to hippocampus via fornix and degenerate in severe alcoholism


What is the location of the corticospinal and spinothalamic tracts? (CST and STT)

consistent locations throughout the brainstem


Where is the medial lemniscus?

forms in the caudal medulla


What does the rostral medulla contain?

inferior olivary nucleus and part of 4th ventricle


What is the caudal pons attached to?

attached to cerebellum by the middle cerebellar peduncle


Where does the superior cerebellar peduncle join the brainstem?

in the rostral pons


Where does the superior cerebellar peduncle decussate?

in the caudal midbrain


What does the rostral midbrain contain?

red nucleus and substantia nigra


Describe the STT (spinal trigeminal tract).

The spinal trigeminal tract descends from the pons (where 5 enters and exits) down into the cervical cord to synapse on the spinal trigeminal nucleus. It relays pain and temp from the head.

Fibers in the spinal tract of V descend from the face, thru the semilunar ganglion, into the pons, and then down to the spinal cord to synapse with the spinal n. of V


Describe the medial longitudinal fasciculus.

The MLF deals with coordinating the nuclei of 3,4, and 6 with each other and spinal reflexes. Here we can see the crossing climbing fibers consisting of olivo-cerebellar afferents


What is seen at the level of caudal medulla?


Internal arcuate fibers

Nucleus gracilis

Nucleus cuneatus

Spinal tract and nucleus of V

Medial lemniscus


What is seen at level of rostral medulla (open medulla)?

Inferior cerebellar peducle

Inferior olivary nucleus

Wide open 4th ventricle

MLF-medial longitudinal fas.


What is seen at the level of caudal pons?

Deep cerebellar nuclei, fat guys eat donuts, fastigal,globose, emboliform, dentate

Basal pons

Pontine gray nuclei

Ponto-cerebellar fibers (mossy fibers)

Huge middle cerebellar peduncle