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Brain Injuries Information Center

The Brain and Its Functions

The human body is a complex system made up of multiple organs that all work together. The brain is the control center of the human body. It is exceedingly complex and has multiple vital duties. In fact, while scientists have long studied the brain, there is still much to learn. The brain is vital to the proper functioning of the body, reasoning and emotions. Brain injuries are often devastating to an individual and his or her family. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, you may have legal recourse. An attorney who has experience representing clients in brain injury cases can help you understand your legal options.

Brain Basics

The brain is part of the central nervous system and is the control center of the human body. The brain allows us to know ourselves, to reason and to understand our environment and those around us.

The brain may be described as a bundle of gelatinous nervous system material floating in a protective sea of cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid acts as a shock absorber to help dampen movement of the brain when a person is jolted, or otherwise makes a quick movement. The fluid is encased inside of the skull, which acts as a protective shell. The outside of the skull is smooth, but the inside is rough and boney. These rough, boney structures inside the skull can injure the brain when a person is struck or jolted.

The brain is a sensory processor. This means that it controls thought, smell, sight, memory and touch. In addition, the brain controls vital bodily functions such as walking, talking, breathing and heart rate.

Brain structure

Most of the brain's functions are tied to a certain section of the brain. The main parts of the brain are the cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem and diencephalon.


The cerebrum is the largest section of the brain. It is divided into the left and right hemispheres, both of which are further divided into lobes. The lobes are the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital. Each lobe is a center for certain brain functions. The frontal lobe controls personality, judgment, reasoning, language expression and social behavior. The temporal lobe controls language comprehension and hearing and stores memories. The parietal lobe interprets sensations and visual perceptions, and the occipital lobe also interprets visual stimulus. The outer cerebrum, or cerebral cortex, is responsible for the greatest order of brain function. This includes the brain's integration with the rest of the central nervous system. Different parts of the cerebral cortex are related to the control of cognitive abilities, memory, motor function, learning, speech and other activities linked to the autonomic nervous system such as breathing and maintenance of the heart rate.


The cerebellum is a large part of the hindbrain, located behind the brain stem and under the occipital lobe. It is divided into two hemispheres and has an outer cortex made of gray matter and an inner cortex of white matter. The cerebellum controls the coordination of voluntary and involuntary muscle movements. It is responsible for muscle tone, balance, posture and the coordination of the groups of muscles that are under a person's voluntary control.

The Brain Stem

The midbrain, medulla oblongata and the pons make up the brain stem. The brain stem is located in front of the cerebellum and under the cerebrum. It connects the upper part of the brain to the spinal cord. It acts as a relay station between incoming stimuli and the cortex. It also controls basic bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing and alertness.


The diencephalon is made up of the thalamus, which relays sensory stimuli, and hypothalamus, which controls appetite, body temperature, water balance, pituitary secretions, emotions and sleep cycles. The diencephalon is positioned below the hemispheres of the cerebrum.

Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer

The brain is the central control and interpretation center for the human body. When a person suffers a brain injury, he or she may be unable to work, learn, walk or talk. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, you may have legal recourse. An attorney who is experienced with handling brain injury claims can help you understand your legal options.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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