The Adult Central Nervous System: Anatomy and Physiology

  • Punita Tripathi
  • Frederick Sieber


The human brain consists of three basic subdivisions – the cerebral hemispheres, the brain stem, and the cerebellum. Speech is represented by two main areas – Broca’s area in the inferior frontal lobe (expressive speech) and the Wernicke’s area in the temporoparietal cortex (interpretation of language) (Fig. 1.1). Language localization is found in 96% of population in the left. The basal ganglia are a collection of nuclei deep in the white matter of the cerebral cortex and contain the substantia nigra. A decrease in function of the dopaminergic neurons located in the substantia nigra causes Parkinson’s disease. The cerebral hemispheres are connected together medially by the corpus callosum. The limbic areas of the brain include the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, and limbic cortex. Optic nerve (second) leaves the retina of the eye and travels to the optic chiasm, located just below and in front of the pituitary gland. In the optic chiasm, the optic nerve fibers arising from the nasal half of each retina cross over to the other side; but the nerve fibers originating in the temporal retina do not cross over.


Circle of Willis Cerebral hemispheres Brain stem Cranial nerves Somatosensory pathways Cerebrospinal fluid 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Punita Tripathi
    • 1
  • Frederick Sieber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care MedicineJohns Hopkins Medicine Bayview Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA

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