The Limbic System Human Brain Function

The limbic system can arguably be explained as the elements of the brain responsible for those functions which make us all human being. The buildings of the limbic system are incredibly much related to what is essential for our survival. The limbic buildings are involved in memory and feelings such as anger, fear, and pleasure, which include emotions experienced after eating or sexual habit. The limbic system is credited as the "region of the cerebrum that serves as a connection between higher cognitive functions, such as reasoning, and even more primitive emotional responses, such as dread" (Silverthorn, et al). There are many components of the mind which make the limbic system and each of its constructions and functions will be referred to in order to get a better understanding of the role of the system as a whole. These components include the amygdala, hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, thalamus, hypothalamus, fornix, and olfactory cortex. Also, potential diseases that affect the limbic system will be talked about.

The first composition of the limbic system that will be mentioned is the amygdala, which is involved in emotion and ram. "The amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobes, medial to the hypothalamus, and adjacent to the hippocampus. " Its various functions include responses to emotion, hormonal secretions, arousal, and it control buttons autonomic replies associated with dread. The "fear network" in animals is centered in the amygdala and assignments toward the hypothalamus and brainstem. This would explain why fear responses can be viewed. It's been hypothesized that medications which involve an increase in serotonin would "desensitize the fear network. " Tracing the pathways for feeling can be complex. When one perceives the earth around them, sensory stimuli are given into the cerebral cortex. Within the association regions of the brain, these details is then integrated. It really is then offered to the limbic system. The limbic system offers reviews to the cerebral cortex, which creates a knowledge of the feeling. In the meantime, "descending pathways to the hypothalamus and brain stem initiate voluntary habits and unconscious replies mediated by autonomic, endocrine, immune, and somatic motor unit systems" (Silverthorn et al). Patients have reported being stressed and fearful when scientists artificially stimulated the amygdala in humans, so when lesions were performed to eliminate the amygdala in animals, it triggered "the animals to become tamer and display hypersexuality. As a result, neurobiologists believe the amygdala is the guts for basic instincts such as fear and aggression" (Silverthorn et al). Emotions of pleasure can be related to increased activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in various areas of the mind. Pleasurable feelings in the brain are increased when drugs such as nicotine and cocaine are abused by the average person. These drugs improve the ramifications of dopamine, which escalates the pleasure sensation perceived by the brain.

The hippocampus, another structure that acts as a part of the limbic system, is important in both learning and storage area. The hippocampus can be attributed as what is in charge of our spatial orientation, navigation, feelings, and our fusion of new recollections. When patients with epilepsy experienced a part of their hippocampus ruined, that they had trouble remembering new information. If given a set of words to do it again, they could bear in mind the words so long as their attention was centered on the list and nothing else. However, when their attention was diverted from the list and onto something else, their memory of what would go away. The hippocampus allows us to convert short-term memory into long-term storage area and also plays an important role inside our ability to remember the spatial human relationships in the world around us. One of these of spatial associations is our potential of depth understanding. The hippocampus explains to us that it certainly wouldn't normally be practical to walk directly over the border of the Grand Canyon.

The cingulated gyrus also is important in feelings. Its functions include mental replies to pain, it coordinates sensory type with feelings, and it regulates competitive behavior. The cingulated gyrus is a ridge of infolded cerebral cortex found above the corpus callosum, and can be associated with feeling as well.

The thalamus, another composition of the mind which really is a element of the limbic system, offers us our motor control capacity, relays sensory indicators to the cerebral cortex, and receives auditory, somatosensory and aesthetic sensory signals. It "serves as an integrating centre and relay stop for information going to and from higher brain centers, including sensory and motor unit information" (Silverthorn et al). Sensory fibers are received by the thalamus from the spinal cord, ears, optic tract, and motor information is received from the cerebellum. Virtually all sensory information that will come in from the spinal cord passes through the thalamus, and, like the spinal cord, "the thalamus can adjust information passing through it, rendering it an integrating center as well as a relay train station" (Silverthorn et al). All sensory information passes through the thalamus (one of these is aesthetic information techniques from the eye, down the optic nerve and optic tract, through the thalamus, and then to the visual cortex for notion) apart from olfactory information.

Though it only occupies a little fraction of the brain's total amount (1%), the hypothalamus, which is placed beneath the thalamus, is the guts for homeostasis. It will get suggestions from various sensory receptors, the cerebrum, and the reticular formation. The hypothalamus "activates the sympathetic nervous system, maintains body's temperature, control buttons body osmolarity, handles reproductive functions, adjustments food intake, interacts with the limbic system to effect behavior and thoughts, influences the cardiovascular control center in the medulla oblongata, and secretes trophic human hormones that control release of hormones from the anterior pituitary gland" (Silverthorn et al).

The exact efficient importance of the fornix is unclear. The fornix connects the hippocampus to the hypothalamus. It really is made up of a bundle of axons that stretch from the hippocampus to the mammillary body of the hypothalamus and varieties an arch over the thalamus. Within an experiment performed with rats, "activity levels were measured pursuing selective knife-cuts of the fornix, medial forebrain bundle or diagonal strap. Each one of these manipulations increased running-wheel activity, but only fornix transection increased activity in the stabilimeter" (Hamilton).

Olfactory cortex, positioned in the temporal lobe, gets insight from chemoreceptors in the nasal. As stated previous, olfactory information is the only sensory information that's not routed through the thalamus. Odors travel from the nasal area to the olfactory nerve (cranial nerve I) and olfactory bulb. It really is then delivered to the olfactory bulb in the cerebrum. It's been presumed, for that reason direct source from the olfactory bulb to the cerebrum, that remembrances and feelings are closely linked to emotion. One could probably pinpoint the precise day, time, location, and occasion of a substantial event in their lives by just smelling the same fragrance or odor that was present at the time. Just by a smell, a person could be led down a path of nostalgia.

When the nervous system is activated by an emotional response, neurotransmitters transfer nerve cell sites known as pathways. The brain produces these neurotransmitters effortlessly. Therefore, it's important that these neurotransmitters remain in balance so that pathways can operate proficiently.

In the limbic system, there are two basic pathways, excitatory ("gets our juices flowing") and inhibitory (calming result). The neurotransmitters critical to the excitatory pathways include dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These are made and released in the very beginning of the day and invite us to be determined and alert. The neurotransmitters involved in the inhibitory pathways are serotonin and GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), which are made and released in the day or nighttime, when people relax and fall asleep.

If an individual suffers from low neurotransmitter development, they are more vunerable to depression. When you have low excitatory neurotransmitters, they are really more vulnerable to reliance on stimulant drugs. While, if you have low inhibitory neurotransmitters, the person may have problems with stress disorders. Disorders that are located to truly have a high incident in people with a low number of the limbic system neurotransmitters usually show to have eating disorders, sleep problems, and obsessive/compulsive disorders, along with ADD or ADHD.

Other potential damage could be achieved to the limbic system after one suffers from a coronary attack. In a study done with rats, "apoptosis of the limbic system was found to occur following the rat suffered from a myocardial infarction (heart attack)" (B. P. Wann et al).

Huntington's disease causes harm to the caudate nucleus, which impacts communication of the limbic system with the frontal lobes. The caudate nucleus works as a relay place in between. "As the relationships degenerate, the activity-initiating frontal lobes are disconnected from the feeling processing center of the mind, producing apathy, the symptom of Huntington's disease. "

As we have seen, the constructions of the limbic system are essential to what packages us aside from other organisms in the animal kingdom. It was stated by research workers that "the nucleus accumbens is a significant anatomical link between the limbic system and the electric motor system, providing a means where 'motivational-emotional determinants of tendencies become altered into actions'" (Vanderwolf et al). Because this technique is in charge of the intimate drives, emotions, remembrances, and hormonal body laws we experience, it can collectively be held responsible for those characteristics which make us all humans.

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