Breaking Down the Brain Series: 1-Thalamus 

The next few posts will deal with the Anatomy of the Brain.  This is a general overview of the brain structure and function.  This is the first in a series I am posting about the Anatomy of the Brain.  This week we will look at the Thalamus.

The thalamus is a mid-line paired symmetrical structure within the brains of vertebrates, including humans. It is situated between the cerebral cortex and mid-brain, both in terms of location and neurological connections.

Anatomically, the thalamus is perched on top of the brain stem, near the center of the brain, in a position to send nerve fibers out to the cerebral cortex in all directions.

The Thalamus is involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor functions. It is involved in several functions of the body including:

  • Motor Control
  • Receiving Auditory, Somatosensory and Visual Sensory Signals
  • Relaying Sensory Signals to the Cerebral Cortex
  • Controling Sleep and Awake States

Both parts of this structure of the brain in the human are each about the size and shape of a walnut. These are about three centimeters in length, at the widest part 2.5 centimeters across and about 2 centimeters in height. 

The thalamus also plays an important role in regulating states of sleep and wakefulness.

To learn more see the Free Medical Dictionary.

Next week we will examine the Occiptal Lobe.