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Brain Map: Brain Stem

Brain Stem

The brain stem is located at the base of the brain and connects the brain to the spinal cord. All information relayed between the body and the brain (e.g. pain, temperature) must go via the brain stem. The brain stem is one of the most vital regions for our survival. It controls the heart and lung and plays a vital role in basic attention, arousal, and consciousness. Like the frontal and temporal lobes, the brain stem is located in an area near bony protrusions making it vulnerable to damage during trauma.

Damage to the brain stem can result in:

  • Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech
  • Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia)
  • Difficulty with organisation/perception of the environment
  • Problems with balance and movement
  • Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo)
  • Sleeping difficulties (Insomnia, Sleep apnoea)
  • Locked-in syndrome
  • Death

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Last updated: 12 July 2022