Topics in BiologyHindbrain: Medulla Oblongata and its features Food web explained with examples Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 2nd Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 3rd Term Seminal Vesicles and Bulbourethral Glands as Male Accessory Sex Organs Male Reproductive System: Scrotum and its contents Brain: Introduction to the Human Brain Forebrain: Lobes of the Cerebrum and their Functions Cerebellum: Parts and Functions of the Cerebellum Midbrain: Division and Functions of the Midbrain Negative Feedback Mechanism in Homeostasis Arterial Disorders: Characteristics and Causes of Arterial Disorders Types of Desert and their Characteristics Characteristics of Tropical Rainforest Swamp Forest: What are Swamp Forests? Characteristics of Swamp Forests Savanna: Savanna and Grassland explained Savanna - Types of Savanna Tropical Savanna and Temperate Savanna with their Characteristics
Academic Questions in Biology
Cold blooded animals are referred to as _____.
F. None of the above
All reptiles are vertebrates.
_____ cells are responsible for the formation of osteoblasts.
_____ is a bone that constitute the axial skeleton.
Which of the following is false concerning cartilages and bones?
A diagram showing the movement of energy through a food chain is called a _____.
Which of the following is NOT a part of the wrist bones (or carpal bones)?
The statements below are true concerning arteries except _____.
A. The arterial wall has 4 layers
B. Tunica Adventitia is the outermost layer of an artery
C. Aorta is the largest artery in the human body
D. Pulmunary artery conveys deoxygenated blood
E. Internal bleeding will occur when a deeply located artery is broken
F. Arterial vascular disorders are worsened in people with diabetes and renal failure
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The hindbrain, also referred to as rhombencephalon is one of the parts or divisions of the brain; the others being the forebrain and midbrain respectively.
The immediate processes of survival (for instance, respiration, blood circulation and digestive functions) are coordinated by the hindbrain, specifically the medulla oblongata; a part of the hindbrain.
Note: Other involuntary (or autonomic) processes ongoing in our body are also controlled by the medulla oblongata. Some of these include swallowing, digestion, vasodilation, vomiting, coughing and sneezing.
The medulla oblongata (simply called the medulla) is seen at the lowermost portion of the brain (or brainstem) where it continues as the spinal cord inferiorly. For this reason, it becomes the primary point of connection between the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).
Below is an image showing the Medulla Oblongata:
The medulla merges with the spinal cord at the foramen magnum. The foramen magnum is an opening located at the base of the skull, marking the beginning of the spinal cord. It is shown below:
Superiorly, the medulla oblongata is connected to the midbrain via the pons. To this end, it plays a critical role in the transmission of nervous signals through the cerebrum (superiorly) and the spinal cord (inferiorly).
The medulla comprises of both myelinated white matter and unmyelinated gray matter intermingled together, thus giving rise to a network of interconnected neuronal clusters within the brainstem.
The following anatomical features are keys to help us identity the medulla oblongata:
Olive (Olivary body): The olivary body is a pair of oval structures present on the surface of the medulla oblongata. It contains numerous nerve fibers that connect the medulla to the pons and cerebellum respectively.
Median fissures (Midline Fissures): The median fissures are shallow grooves found on the anterior and posterior parts of the medulla. The posterior median fissure is referred to as the posterior median sulcus and it commences from the end of the fourth ventricle, continuing down into the sulcus of the spinal cord. The fissure (shallow grove) present on the anterior side is simply referred to as the median fissure. It is continuous with the median sulcus of the spinal cord.
Pyramids: These are two round masses of nerve fibers located on either side of the median fissure. They connect the medulla to the cerebrum, pons and spinal cord respectively. The pyramid are comprised of about one million nerves which crosses themselves in a process termed decussation of the pyramids.
The medulla oblongata is divided into 2 main portions. These are:
The frontal portion (called the ventral medulla) which contains a pair of structures called pyramids (as explained above).
The backward portion is termed the dorsal medulla). It is this dorsal medulla that forms the dorsal region of the fourth ventricle.
Note: In anatomical terms, ventral means (in front or anterior) and dorsal means (rear or back or posterior).
Think of the fourth ventricle as a fluid filled space surrounded by white matter on the outside and gray matter on the inside.
The image below shows the fourth ventricle:
Recall that we have 12 cranial nerves exiting from the brain (and they connect to different parts of the body). It is noteworthy that the dorsal medulla gives origin to the last 7 seven cranial nerves. Below is a list of all the cranial nerves:
The medulla oblongata is vital for human survival. Injuries related to it may lead to the following:
Partial paralysis of the opposite side of the body
Partial paralysis to the tongue
Inability to feel the stimulus of touch, temperature and pain
Difficulty in vomiting and swallowing
Difficulty in coughing and sneezing
Note: The cerebellum is another part of the hindbrain. It plays a major role in the body's voluntary movement (especially posture). It accounts for about 10% of the brain size and comprises of two cerebellar hemispheres separated by a structure called the vermis.
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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.
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The above listed points are often regarded as the basic characteristics of life. You can memorize them using the acronym (MR. NIGER DAC).
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