Human Brain – All Parts, Anatomy & Functions

Human brain consists of three parts, such as the frontal brain or forebrain, midbrain and hind (backside) brain and each of which controls various organs of the body. The spinal cord and brain possess three membranes, known as meninges. Frontal portion of the brain controls thought, memory, will, emotion and intellect.

Its outer layer (cerebral cortex) seats higher nervous activity – its right hemisphere controlling the impulses from the left side of the body and vice versa. The midbrain controls the tone of the muscles and, but for its presence, entire muscular activity, like the rigidity of muscles, would have remained disturbed.


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The hind (back) portion of the brain has medulla oblongata which is a large cylindrical elevation called pons and its two hemispheres, on either side, are known as the cerebellum. It is an important part of the brain because it controls circulatory, respiratory centres; as also the centres of muscles that produce facial expressions and also the center that control (and produce) swallowing, mastication and vomiting processes.

Any injury to this portion of the brain can affect the said centres and the organs attached therewith. Gait and coordinating faculties will be lost if the cerebellum is removed. Another portion of the brain is called the hypothalamus, located in front of the brain, serves an intermediary role in various modes of communication.

Cranial nerves originate in the brain but some of them are connected to and go to organs like eyes, nose and hearing whereas others go to muscles, mouth, scalp and salivary glands. Another nerve (vagus nerve) is a wandering nerve that wanders to finer branches/nerves of the abdomen and chest.

When the brain and spinal cord are cut across there would be found grey matter which is covered with the white matter – the former consisting of nerve cells whereas the latter contains nerve fibres which, in fact, are extensions of nerve cells.

The human brain is replete with an electrical activity that is recorded and measured by means of an ECG machine that records rhythmic curves of the brain. There are three types of rhythms (alpha, beta and delta) which show various readings under work, sleep or tension. During rest, the alpha rhythm is found which has regular smooth oscillations; during mental work, beta rhythm is found which has low-potential-fast waves, delta rhythm is found in cases of brain tumours.

The brain also has a fluctuating magnetic activity which could be recorded through an instrument called MEG.

Mind is an abstract entity that manifests itself in the brain, thought waves, emotions, sensations, desires and aversions, and many other physical upsets. We shall deal with ‘Mind’ separately, as already mentioned a healthy body is a prerequisite to sound mental health.