A Guide to Brain Anatomy, Function and Symptoms

Finding the Best Care for a Loved One in a Coma

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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Structures of the Diencephalon (within the cerebrum and continues with the midbrain).

Brain Structure  Function  Associated Signs and Symptoms 


Processing center of the cerebral cortex. Coordinates and regulates all functional activity of the cortex via the integration of the afferent input to the cortex (except olfaction).

Contributes to affectual expression. 

  • Altered level of consciousness.
  • Loss of perception.
  • Thalamic syndrome - spontaneous pain opposite side of body. 


Integration center of Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): Regulation of body temperature and endocrine function.

Anterior Hypothalamus: parasympathetic activity (maintenance function).

Posterior Hypothalamus: sympathetic activity ("Fight" or "Flight", stress response.

Behavioral patterns: Physical expression of behavior.

Appestat: Feeding center.

Pleasure center.  

  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Malignant hypothermia.
  • Inability to control temperature.
  • Diabetes Insipidus (DI).
  • Inappropriate ADH (SIADH).
  • Diencephalic dysfunction: "neurogenic storms". 

Internal Capsule 

Motor tracts. 
  • Contralateral plegia (Paralysis of the opposite side of the body). 
Reticular Activating System (RAS)  Responsible for arousal from sleep, wakefulness, attention. 
  • Altered level of consciousness. 

Continue Brain Function and Pathology

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Return To Brain Anatomy

Intracranial Pressure

Understanding Coma

Rancho Los Amigos Scale/ The Levels of Coma

Objectives of Neurosurgery

A Glossary of Terms  


Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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