Brain Anatomy

As specialist head injury solicitors we have a thorough understanding of the working of the brain. This is critical to understanding the affects and consequences of someone who has suffered a brain injury.

The brain weighs around 1.3kg and is protected by the skull or cranium. Underneath the front of the skull are a number of ridges. When the head is shaken this can cause lacerations and damage to the brain. The texture of the brain is soft but it is held in place by layers of membrane called the dura, pia and arachnoid. Between the pia and arachnoid is the subarachnoid space which controls the blood supply to the brain.

The brain floats within the skull in cerebrospinal fluid. This offers some protection and cushioning.

The Brain Stem

The brain is connected to the spine through the brain stem and spinal cord and from there to the rest of the body. An injury to the brain stem is known to affect:

  • alertness and consciousness
  • excessive tiredness
  • breathing and heart beat
  • blood pressure

Damage to the brain stem will often cause concussion and loss of consciousness. Most of the cranial nerves come from the brainstem. The brainstem is the pathway for all fibre tracts passing up and down from peripheral nerves and spinal cord to the highest parts of the brain.

Behind the brain stem is the cerebellum. This is the second largest part of the brain. This controls our co-ordination and movements such as balancing and walking. An injury to this part of the brain may cause a person to appear clumsy or have difficulty with tasks requiring fine movement.

Sensory Cortex
An injury to the sensory cortex will often affect the senses as this is the part of the brain that processes information regarding sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. For 20% of people who suffer a head injury the sense of smell is permanently affected.

Broca’s Area is located in the opercula and triangular sections of the inferior frontal gyrus. The function of this area is the understanding of language, speech, and the control of facial neurons.

Cerebrospinal Fluid, also called CSF, is a clear substance that circulates through the brain and spinal cord. It provides nutrients and serves to cushion the brain and therefore protect it from injury. As this fluid gets absorbed, more is produced from the choroid plexus, a structure located in the ventricles. A brain tumour can cause a build-up or blockage of CSF.

Cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is associated with conscious thought, movement and sensation. It consists of two halves, each controlling the opposite side of the body. The halves are connected by the corpus callosum, which delivers messages between them. Four lobes make up the cerebrum, the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital.

Frontal lobe is one of the four sections of the cerebral hemisphere. It controls attention, behaviour, abstract thinking, problem solving, creative thought, emotion, intellect, initiative, judgment, coordinated movements, muscle movements, smell, physical reactions, and personality.

Hypothalamus is a region of the brain in partnership with the pituitary gland that controls the hormonal processes of the body as well as temperature, mood, hunger, and thirst.

Meninges are the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. A tumour arising from this tissue is called a meningioma.

Motor Cortex is an area located in the middle, top part of the brain that helps control movement in various parts of the body.

Occipital Lobe of the cerebral hemisphere is located in the back of the head and controls vision.

Optic Chiasm is located beneath the hypothalamus and is where the optic nerve crosses over to the opposite side of the brain.

Pineal Gland controls the response to light and dark. The exact role of the pineal gland is not certain.

Pituitary Gland is a small, bean-sized organ that is located at the base of the brain and is connected to the hypothalamus by a stalk. The pituitary gland secretes many essential hormones for growth and sexual maturation.

Thalamus is located near the centre of the brain and controls input and output to and from the brain, as well as the sensation of pain.

Four Ventricles of the brain are connected cavities within the brain, where cerebrospinal fluid is produced.

Wernicke’s Area is part of the temporal lobe that surrounds the auditory cortex and is thought to be essential for understanding and formulating speech. Damage in Wernicke’s area causes deficits in understanding spoken language.

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury it is vital you receive specialist legal advice.

Contact us for a free assessment of your case 0800 073 0988 or