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The brain stem is located at the lower, back part or posterior of the brain. It connects the brain with the spinal column. All motor and sensory nerve connections from the brain go through the brain stem to the rest of the body. The brain stem is important in regulating the cardiovascular, respiratory, and central nervous systems. The brain stem also provides the main motor and sensory nerve connections to the face and neck through the cranial nerves. Read on to learn more about the brain stem, and what it does in your body.

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Brain Stem
The Brain Stem includes the Medulla
Oblongata, the Pons, and the Midbrain

The brain stem is usually defined to included the medulla oblongata, the pons, and the midbrain.

The medulla oblongata is the lower half of the brainstem. The medulla controls the cardiac and respiratory systems. It manages autonomic functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. It also controls reflex actions such as vomiting, coughing, sneezing, and swallowing.

The pons or pons varolii is located in the frontal part of the brain stem, below the midbrain and above the medulla oblongata. They are located in front of the cerebellum. The pons are responsible for relaying signals between the cerebrum and the cerebellum. They are involved in body functions such as sleep, respiration, swallowing, bladder control, hearing, equilibrium, taste, eye movement, facial expressions, facial sensation, and posture.

The midbrain is located at the posterior or back of the brain stem, above the cerebellum. The midbrain is involved in functions such as vision, hearing, eye movement, and body movement.

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