The brian is an extraordinary thing. A highly specialized organ that is responsible for everything that happens in our bodies, from thoughts to movement. The brain has several different parts and each has a unique job to do. Made up of nerve cells that interact with the body through the spinal cord and nervous system, the brain is like a super computer, and like computers have a unique language, so too does the brain. This internal language is simple, yet powerful, supporting human intelligence and allowing us to function in a healthy manner.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is responsible for most of our brain function. It is made up of four sections: the temporal lobe, the occipital lobe, the parietal lobe and the frontal lobe.
The frontal lobe is controls things like creative thought, problem solving, intellect, judgment, behavior, attention, physical reactions, muscle movements, coordinated movements, smell and personality, while the parietal lobe is responsible for comprehension.
Within the parietal lobe, we find the sensory and motor cortex, which are responsible for movement, getting signals from the spinal cord and relaying information such as pain. The occipital lobe controls our vision, while the temporal lobe vision and memories, along with things like speech and hearing.
The cerebellum, commonly referred to as the “little brain” controls things like balance, coordination and posture. The limbic system is responsible for emotions. The brain stem is where all basic like functions originate. Things like heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure.
Each of these parts of the brain have additional parts, all specialized to regulate everything that we do, say and feel, how we learn and how we heal when necessary. When one of these sections of the brain is damaged, the brain has the ability to compensate and other sections of the brain can take over the function of the damaged part of the brain.
While it was once believed that the brain stopped growing after childhood, it is now known that our brain has the ability to reorganize itself and form new pathways throughout our lifetimes. This is known as neuroplasticity and today, we are seeing the proof of the power of neuroplasticity in patients recovering from traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain and even strokes; all by harnessing the power of our own brain and specialized treatment plans that focus on restoring function through the creation of these new pathways and even new neurons.
The study of the brain is a vast and ever-evolving field. As researchers continue to look at the parts of the brain and how we are individually shaped by our unique experiences, the evidence that we have the innate ability to heal ourselves is impressive and is leading to more and more successes in overcoming conditions and injury that seemed daunting in the past.