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"A really good practitioner never stops learning and is never qualified as there is always something more to learn."

Diana Mossop

About The Human Cerebral Cortex

Cerebral cortex is a part of the brain.


Brain

The brain is a jelly-like substance, which in adults weighs about three pounds. It is divided into three parts: the brain stem, which is an extension of the spinal cord, the forebrain (which consists mainly of the cerebruim) and the cerebellum. The forebrain and cerebellum are divided into two hemispheres which are linked by a thick band of nerve fibers and these hemispheres have areas, called "lobes," which perform specific functions. The brain's surface lies in rather ugly, wrinkled folds. Traditionally referred to as one's "gray matter," it does, indeed, contain gray nerve cell bodies which surround a smaller mass of white nerve fibers. The brain, like the heart, is protected by a buffer zone. This, in the form of fluid, may be the source of "water on the brain," but it is very necessary to our survival. Only these pools of fluid and the skull protect the brain from the bumps and grinds of daily living which would damage this fragile organ. With them, we are able to think, reason, love, forgive, create and remember, as well as to survive through automatic processes such as breathing and digesting, and we have reflexes which signal in case of "fight or flight" emergencies. Just think of it!

Cerebellar Peduncles

The cerebellum communicates with other parts of the central nervous system by means of three pairs of nerve tracts called "cerebellar peduncles." The "inferior peduncles" bring sensory information about the actual position of body parts such as limbs and joints. The "middle peduncles" transmit information about the desired position of these parts. After integrating and analyzing the information from these two sources, the cerebellum sends impulses through the "superior peduncles" to the midbrain. In response, motor impulses are transmitted down through the pons, medulla oblongata, and spinal cord, and they stimulate or inhibit skeletal muscles at appropriate times to cause movements of body parts into the desired positions. This activity makes rapid and complex muscular movements possible.

Cerebrum

The cerebrum, which develops from the front portion of the forebrain, is the largest part of the mature brain. It consists of two large masses, called "cerebral hemispheres", which are almost mirror images of each other. They are connected by a deep bridge of nerve fibers called the "corpus callosum" and are separated by a layer called the "falx cerebri". The surface of the cerebrum is marked by numerous ridges or "convolutions", called "gyri", which are also separated by grooves. A shallow groove is called a "sulcus", and a very deep one is a "fissure". A "longitudinal" fissure separates the right and left hemispheres of the cerebrum, and a "transverse" fissure separates the cerebrum from the cerebellum. Various sulci divide each hemisphere into "lobes" (sometimes called "poles"). The lobes are named for the skull bones under which they rest and are: (1) the frontal lobe, (2) the parietal lobe, (3) the temporal lobe, (4) the occipital lobe, and (5) the insula. The cerebrum is concerned with higher brain functions, interpreting sensory impulses and initiating muscle movements. It stores information and uses it to process reasoning. It also functions in determining intelligence and personality.

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