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Updated: Apr 3 2017


  • Overview
  • Introduction
    • The brainstem is composed of the midbrain, pons, and medulla
      • Brainstem Structures
      • Structure
      • Cranial Nerves
      • Comments
      • Midbrain (Mesencephalon)
      • Oculomotor nerve (CN III)
      • Trochlear nerve (CN IV)
      • Reticular activating system
        • involved in arousal and alertness
        • lesion can lead to coma
      • Superior colliculus
        • conjugate vertical gaze center
      • Inferior colliculus
        • auditory information processor
      • Parinaud's syndrome
        • due to compression of dorsal midbrain and pretectal area(e.g.,pinealoma, hydrocephalus)
          • lesions the superior colliculus
        • conjugate vertical gaze palsy
      • Pons (Metencephalon)
      • Trigeminal nerve (CN V)
      • Abducens nerve (CN VI)
      • Facial nerve (CN VII)
      • Vestibulocochlear nerve (CN VIII)
      • Medial longitudinal fasciculus
        • lesion leads to intranuclear ophthalmoplegia (INO)
      • Medulla (Myelencephalon)
      • Glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX)
      • Vagus nerve (CN X)
      • Hypoglossal nerve (CN XII)
      • Vasomotor center
      • Respiratory center
      • Area postrema
        • incomplete blood-brain barrier
        • chemoreception of toxins
          • triggers nausea and vomiting
      • Medial lemniscus
        • formed by decussating fibers of the nucleus gracillis and cuneatus
      • Pyramids
        • contain corticospinal tracts
          • most decussate in the caudal medulla
      • Olives
        • send fibers through the inferior cerebellar peduncle
        • distinguishing feature of medulla
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