Functional Anatomy of the Brain

  • John M. DeSesso


The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord which provide sensation, control of movement, emotion, aesthetics, reason and self-awareness. The tissue that makes up the central nervous system is highly differentiated and exceedingly ordered, yet plastic. The central nervous system is well protected throughout by a fluid-filled, tri-layered, connective tissue covering (the meninges) and various osseous claddings. The cranium provides a rigid armor for the brain whereas the vertebral column constitutes the flexible protection of the spinal cord. Because the focus of this volume is the study of various disease states that affect the functions of the brain, it is important to understand the normal relationship of the brain to its surrounding structures including its bony case and its connective tissue coverings, its blood supply, and its internal organization, as well as how the perturbation of the relationships among these structures can impact brain functions. It is the purpose of this chapter to present an overview of this information. More detailed anatomical information is readily available in textbooks of gross anatomy and neuroscience.


Vertebral Artery Basilar Artery Reticular Formation Posterior Cerebral Artery Cranial Vault 
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The author gratefully recognizes the artistic talent and patience of Mr. Ken Arevalo, who painstakingly crafted the illustrations for this manuscript.

Preparation of this manuscript was funded in part by the Noblis Sponsored Research Program.

References Cited

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. DeSesso
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular BiologyCenter for Science and Technology, Noblis, Falls Church, Virginia; and Georgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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