Brain Stem

The Brain Stem is the posterior, or base of the brain. The Brain Stem is divided into three structures stacked on top of one another: the midbrain (or mesencephalon), the pons, and the medulla oblongata. All communication between the body and brain passes through the brainstem.

The Brain Stem directs heart rate and breathing, and is also involved in the sleep-wake cycle, attention, temperature regulation, arousal, vision, hearing, and motor control of muscles in the face and neck.

Damage to the Brain Stem can cause:
- Decreased vital capacity, which affects speech
- Dysphagia
- Difficulty with environmental perception and organization
- Balance and movement problems
- Vertigo
- Insomnia, Sleep Apnea
- Locked-In Syndrome
- Death