Central Nervous System: Crash Course A&P #11

Central Nervous System: Crash Course A&P #11


James was healthy professional, a father of
two. He had lots of friends, loved telling jokes, and played softball on Sundays. Then one day, at the age of 45, he suffered
a stroke. He bounced back fairly quickly, with one major exception: He was no longer
able to speak. The stroke damaged a specific area in the left hemisphere of his brain called
Broca’s area, and left him with what’s known as Broca’s aphasia. Broca’s area is partly responsible for the
ability to produce and process language, and Broca’s aphasia often leaves its sufferers
with some ability to understand speech, but an inability to produce intelligible words. James could understand his wife when she asked
if he wanted cereal for breakfast, but he could only respond by repeating the word “too”
— although he could still intonate as though he were speaking a whole sentence. Then, after some time and therapy, something
rather unexpected happened — James regained some ability to communicate through singing. Broca’s aphasia can sometimes be treated
by teaching patients to sing, because singing uses a different region of the brain — one
that’s on the right side and that’s analogous to Broca’s area on the left. So after some practice, James could sing words,
and he eventually relearned how to talk by teaching the right side of his brain to speak
rather than sing. Whether it’s a stroke affecting your speech,
a tumor destroying your memory, a concussion affecting your aggression, or that fateful iron
rod that shot straight through Phineas Gage’s skull — a lot of what we know about how the brain
works has come through studying injuries to it. And what we’ve learned so far is that, even
though it looks like a 1.4-kilogram lump of gray, congealed oatmeal, the brain is made up of
super-specific areas that have super-specific functions. You might actually say the same thing about
your brain that’s sometimes said about politics: Everything is local. You’ll remember that our nervous system
is divided into two main networks that work in harmony — the central nervous system,
consisting of your amazing brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, made up of
the nerves coming out of that central nervous system. The central nervous system’s main game is
integrating the sensory information that the peripheral system collects from all over the
body, and responding to it by coordinating both conscious and unconscious activity. The sun is bright, so I’ll shade my eyes;
I’m hungry, so I’m calling the pizza man; the phone is ringing, maybe I’ll answer it. All these sensations, thoughts, and directions
process through this two-part system. It’s the brain, of course, that sorts out
all that sensory information and gives orders. It also carries out your most complex functions,
like thinking, and feeling, and remembering. Meanwhile, your spinal cord conducts two-way
signals between your brain and the rest of your body, while also governing basic muscle
reflexes and patterns that don’t need your brain’s blessing to work — this is how
a chicken can still run around even if the poor thing has been decapitated. Both your spinal cord and brain are made of
fragile, jelly-like nervous tissue that is extremely susceptible to injury. So all that goo is well-protected by the bones
of your vertebrae and cranium, as well as membrane layers, or meninges, before being bathed
in a cushy waterbed of clear cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid actually allows your brain to float
somewhat in your skull, reducing its weight and letting it slosh around while you and
your head are free to move. But even with all that extra protection, your
brain is still vulnerable. And one thing James’s story taught us is that its vulnerabilities
can be incredibly specific, because your brain is divided into specialized regions that may, or may not,
interact with each other to produce a given action. We can better understand this division of
labor by looking at how the brain first develops into its main component parts. Inside a developing embryo, the central nervous
system starts off as a humble little neural tube. Soon the caudal, or lower, end of the tube
stretches out, forming the spinal cord, while the cranial end begins to expand, divide,
and enlarge into three primary brain vesicles, or interconnected chambers. This is kind of your proto-brain. We call these chambers the prosencephalon,
the mesencephalon, and the rhombencephalon — or forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. By an embryo’s fifth week of development,
these main three chambers start morphing into five secondary vesicles that essentially form the roots
of what will become your grown-up brain structures. The prosencephalon divides into two sections
— the telencephalon and the diencephalon. The rhombencephalon forms into another pair,
called the metencephalon and the myelencephalon. And in between, the mesencephalon, thanks
to evolution, remains undivided. The real action starts as these five secondary
vesicles start developing into the major adult brain regions that you might be more familiar
with — the brainstem, the cerebellum, the diencephalon, also known as the interbrain,
and finally the cerebral hemispheres. But, in order to go from a simple tube into
that classic, wrinkly icon we think of as the “brain,” each of these five vesicles
grows in different ways. Basically, some develop a lot more than others. The least dramatic changes occur in the three
most caudal or lower sections: the mesencephalon, the metencephalon, and the myelencephalon. They go on to form the cerebellum, which mostly helps
coordinate muscular activity, and the brainstem, which plays a vital role in relaying information
between the body and the higher regions of the brain. The brainstem actually has three main components
— and I know this is getting to be a lot of vocabulary here — you have the midbrain,
the pons, and the medulla oblongata. Together they regulate many of the most basic, vital involuntary
functions, like keeping your heart on pace, keeping your lungs working, and controlling things like sleep,
and appetite, and pain sensitivity, and awareness. But of the three brainstem parts, it’s your midbrain
that carries out the higher-level functions. Like, when your eyes track a fast moving object,
or when you look behind you after hearing some sudden loud sound, it’s the midbrain
that receives and processes that sensory information and sends out the reflexive motor signals,
so you react without thinking. The midbrain also passes that data to regions
like the cerebral cortex, which do the actual conscious thinking about the stimuli, like
“What is that thing whizzing across the sky?” or “WHAT JUST EXPLODED BEHIND ME?!” So with the brainstem and cerebellum covering
your basic life and motor functions, you start to see somewhat more complex tasks being carried
out in the next major brain structure, the diencephalon. This is where you find the thalamus, hypothalamus,
epithalamus, and the mammillary bodies, which regulate things like homeostasis, alertness,
and reproductive activity. Here we also find part of the limbic system, which is a center
for strong emotions, like fear. This area is sometimes called the “reptilian
brain” because we share it with some of our less philosophical animal brethren like
lizards and fish. I’m not putting these guys down, but by
our standards, they don’t think so much as focus on the more instinctual pursuits
that are ruled by the caudal regions of the brain — eat, drink, sleep, mate, stay safe. All those things are awesome. But it wasn’t
until the appearance of birds and mammals that some animals’ brains came to be dominated
by the last of the five vesicles, the telencephalon. During your brain’s growth, the telencephalon
undergoes the biggest changes of all, as it develops into the most brainy part of your
brain — the two classic, walnut-looking hemispheres we collectively call the cerebrum, that cover the
rest of your brain like a mushroom cap on its stalk. That’s the cerebrum — not to be confused with
Cerebro, which is Professor X’s telepathy-enhancing device — and it is the largest region of the
brain and performs the highest functions. It’s made up of the wrinkled, outer layer
of “gray matter” called the cerebral cortex, and the inner squishy layer of “white matter”
beneath it. And it’s the cerebrum that rules our voluntary
movements and our most advanced tricks, like thinking, and learning, and regulating and recognizing emotions,
and experiencing consciousness in general. You’ll remember that higher processing requires lots
of synapses, which require lots of nervous tissue. So as the cerebrum grew through evolutionary time,
it got more massive but our skull didn’t exactly keep up. So in order to squeeze all that material into
your skull, the brain forms little creases, called gyri, and larger grooves, or sulci, giving
it more folds than than an origami pineapple. And although a big fissure separates the left
and right hemispheres, the two halves communicate, through a series of myelinated axon fibers
called the corpus callosum. And each hemisphere has other, smaller fissures
that divide it into lobes — each with a different set of major functions. The frontal lobe, for example, governs muscle
control and cognitive functions like planning for the future, concentration, and preventing
socially unacceptable behaviors. In most people, this area doesn’t finish
developing until after the teenage years, which tells you a lot about the teenage years.
Since Broca’s area lives in this lobe in the left hemisphere, it also is important
in language comprehension and speech. If you’re enjoying a beautiful sunset, you
can thank your occipital lobe at the back of your head for processing those bright visual
cues. And the next time you step on a lego, you
can curse your parietal lobe, which processes the sensations of touch, pain, and pressure. Meanwhile the temporal lobe helps sort out
auditory information, including language. It contains Wernicke’s area — another important
region of the brain associated with the production of written and spoken language. This part of the limbic system includes your
short-term memory keeper, the hippocampus, and the emotional amygdala, which controls
sexual and social behavior. So, if you damage the wrong part of your temporal lobe, you
may never again be able to remember what you ate for lunch… or you might suddenly become
a total jerk who kicks kittens and cuts in line. We could do a whole course on the finer-grained
functions and consequences of malfunction in every bit of brain in your gourd,
but, well, we can’t do that today. And you got to remember that, when it comes
to your body, no organ or system is an island. Your brain would be pretty useless if it weren’t
hooked up to the outside world. That’s where the peripheral nervous system comes in, which
we’ll be spending the next few lessons exploring. Meanwhile, you learned today about the central
nervous system and how important location is to brain function. We looked at how the
brain develops from an unassuming neural tube into three primary vesicles, and then five
secondary vesicles, and finally into our complex set of four adult structures and their basic
functions. Crash Course is now on Patreon! Thank you
so much to all of our supporters on Patreon who help make Crash Course possible for themselves
and for everyone else in the world through their monthly contributions. If you like Crash Course and you want to help us keep making great new videos like this one, you can check out Patreon.com/CrashCourse This episode was written by Kathleen Yale.
The script was edited by Blake de Pastino, and our consultant, is Dr. Brandon Jackson.
It was directed by Nicholas Jenkins and Michael Aranda, and our graphics team is Thought Café.

100 Replies to “Central Nervous System: Crash Course A&P #11”

  1. I usually watch your video first, and chill, like i just let my brain hear it. Then the second time i watch it the day after, i pay attention, and then i re watch it for notes/studying, and usually pause and grab key points. Def helps with my A&P exams.

  2. Ur videos arw awsome …..completely rocking ….and most importantly ur energy and way of teaching is so good…my brain works so quickly when i see these vidoes 🤗🤗🤗

  3. I'd love it if Dr. Catherine Yale could present the next information. You know how men speak Maneese , and women speak Womaneese?

  4. my 8 year old daughter is gonna be a neurosurgeon so im showing her this videos so she can decide wisely . thanks for the videos it helps me and my husband on terminology classes anatomy and physiology . awesome .

  5. This sentence makes no sense- (4:16) "The rhomacelphalon forms into another pair called the metencephalon and the Myelencephalon and in between the mesenscephalon thanks to evolution remains undivided"

  6. This crash course is saving my life. I have a terrible physiology teacher who just sits there for 3 hours without explaining ANYTHING. I'm reading the books but sometimes too much information at once doesn't help with retaining knowledge. Thank you Hank!

  7. I love the visualization and drama that goes into this. It makes it easier to store and remember. A lot of it also is your personality which keeps my attention. Thank you so much for contributing to the evolution of humanity in a positive and effective way! As I continue to seek my Ph.D. in Psychology your videos and your team has played an effective part in me being able to accomplish this goal. Blessing upon all you and your team touch and do.

  8. I love watching crash course to do a recap on what I studied , but I really wish there was another video on the functional areas and the anatomy of the brain (sulci, gyri, diencephalon, etc.)

  9. I read a book for school took me a month to finish, this took me 10 minutes and 7 seconds and gave me more information wow who knew!

  10. Whatthecephalon and ?cephalon are parts you forgot and you are crazy with those vocabulary can you send me the name of the book you read (If you have one)

  11. Why am I paying £9,250 a year for tuition when I can listen to Hank for a few hours (easily) and get more information?!

  12. Thank u!! I luv this training…I was so lost in my neuropsychological class…this greatly helped me to understand and made me smile!! Liv it

  13. You guys make this videos a lot more fun way to learn, I watched them several time until really get it, Thank you very much, they're awesome, also loving the host too 🙂

  14. That stroke example at the start is the starting point of every Music Therapist’s explanation as to what our work could entail.

  15. I have a brain injury to my frontal lobe. I appear "normal" but my learning (concentrating and remembering things that were just said/read are quickly forgotten) and social interactions are sometimes anxious and awkward as I have no filter. I think it, I say it. It can get stressful trying to plan my day and I get side tracked alot… my concentration is quite bad. 30 years since I suffered the brain injury but the symptoms persist.

  16. Crash course really helps me to study biology since normally when I study biology I get REALLY anxious for some reason I don’t get anxious watching crash course

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