Let’s start off with the human brain before we head off to hypothalamus function.
The Human Brain
The brain is a complex organ. It serves as one of the main organs in our body and it has very important roles to do. In the nervous system, the brain performs the most duties as it is said the be the center of it. Also, it controls each and every nerve in our bodies and once it gets damaged, the body gets greatly compromised. This is how vital the brain is for humans.
The main purpose of the brain is that it serves as the command center of all the nerves in the body, and then it takes charge of all the signals the nerves receive and make them into information that gets passed to all other body organs; mostly the muscles.
Being a complex organ, the brain consists of many different parts. The three main parts of the brain are cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem.
The cerebrum is considered as the biggest part of the brain; taking up 85 percent of the brain. Since it said to be quite big compared to the other two parts, it is divided in two hemispheres. The two hemispheres are normally referred to as the right and left hemisphere.
It is easy to differentiate the right and left hemisphere of the brain. For the right hemisphere, it takes charge of all the nerves and muscles on the left side of the body. On the other hand. The left hemisphere is in charge of those that are on the right side of the body. Both hemispheres have their own corresponding roles and the easiest way to identify which is by remembering that what each hemisphere handles is its opposite.
The main role of the cerebrum is handling the body’s thoughts and actions.
The second main part of the brain is called the cerebellum. This part is in charge of the body’s motor movements by receiving information from the essential players such as the spinal cord, sensory systems, and some other parts of the brain.
The voluntary motor movements that the cerebellum controls are anything associated with posture, complete body coordination, balance, and speech. It provides the right signals by properly coordinating with the body’s muscles, thus the result is perfectly coordinated and well-balanced body movements.
The brainstem is located in the lower part of the brain; it is the connection of the brain and it goes down to the spinal cord. This part is in charge of the passing of messages between the brain and the other parts of the body. It is also responsible for the involuntary movements in the body that involves important functions such as the rate of the heart, the body’s blood pressure, consciousness, and even our breathing, blinking, and swallowing among others.
Other than the three mentioned main parts of the brain, there are still other parts that are as important as the main ones; just like the hypothalamus. So, what does this hypothalamus do and why is it considered to be another important part of the brain?
This part of the brain only takes up a small portion of the brain; but no matter how small it is, it still provides the body with a lot of help regarding the functioning of some of the most vital processes in the body.
The location of the hypothalamus is exactly at the lower part of the brain. Most of the time, it works together with the pituitary gland; which is in charge of regulating and producing body hormones. Also, the reason why it is said to work with the pituitary gland at times is that both of them are located near each other; like neighbors.
The hypothalamus is also divided into three parts: the anterior region, the middle region, and the posterior region. Get to know the three basic parts of hypothalamus and their functions.
The Anterior Region
This region is known as the frontal part of the hypothalamus. It mainly focuses on the production of some important hormones in the body. The hormones from this region are also the ones which are directly interacting with the pituitary gland in order for it to release the other essential hormones.
Examples of the hormones produced by the anterior region are:
- Corticotropin-releasing hormones: These hormones are produced as the body’s reaction to experiencing certain events that trigger a person’s emotional and physical stress. By the time these hormones are produced, the pituitary gland then decides to release a specific hormone that will help in the production of the vital stress hormone called cortisol.
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormones: Based on its name, these hormones are in charge of reminding the pituitary gland in making the essential thyroid-stimulating hormone. The byproduct hormone called the thyroid-stimulating hormone is important for the bodily functions of the heart, the muscles, and the gastrointestinal tract.
- Oxytocin: The oxytocin is essential to a lot of reactions of the body, most of them are related to the person’s behavior and emotional responses to certain situations. It also connected to the body’s sexual responses, thus it takes charge of the person’s sexual behavior.
Another special function that the anterior region of hypothalamus provides is the regulation of body temperature; this is done by making the body release sweat. Also, the anterior region is in charge of sustaining the healthy physiological cycle of the body on a daily basis. This sustenance is done by subconsciously informing the body of its normal functions.
The Middle Region
This part of the hypothalamus is controlling the person’s appetite with the help of its ventromedial nucleus. Also, it has an arcuate nucleus that produces a specific hormone that signals the pituitary gland into making growth hormones. Thus, the middle region contributes to the body’s growth and development.
The Posterior Region
The last part of the hypothalamus is called the posterior region. This region is one of the mysterious parts of the hypothalamus since there is no clear evidence as to what it necessarily does. However, specialists say that it is also helping in regulating body temperature and that it is in charge of some aspects of our memory.