The brain is the control centre for your body and it sits in your skull at the top of your spinal cord.
The brain has three main parts.
The cerebellum (say se-re-bell-um).
The cerebrum (say se-re-brum), which has two parts, the left and right cerebral hemispheres, (say se-re-brell hem-iss-fears).
The brain stem, that controls a lot of the 'automatic' actions of your body such as breathing and heart beat, and links the brain to the spinal cord and the rest of the body.
Your brain is wrapped in 3 layers of tissue and floats in a special shock-proof fluid to stop it from getting bumped on the inside of your skull as your body moves around.
What the brain does
Your brain is more powerful, more complex and more clever than any computer ever built.
It is constantly dealing with hundreds of messages from the world around you, and from your body, and telling your body what to do.
It gets the messages from your senses - seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and moving. The messages travel from nerve cells all over the body. They travel along nerve fibres to nerve cells in the brain.
Cranial nerves (say cray-nee-al) carry messages to and from the ears, eyes, nose, throat, tongue and skin on your face and scalp.
The spinal cord carries messages to and from the arms, legs and trunk of the body.
Sensory nerves collect the information and send it to the brain along one network thenmotor nerves take the brain’s orders back along another network (like cars travelling along their own side of the highway.)
Your brain collects all the information, sorts it out, thinks, remembers, creates, compares, solves problems and coordinates actions all at the same time - even when you’re asleep! (And you don’t have to be 'plugged in' and 'online' either!)
If you get too tired or don’t eat enough food, your brain can’t do this as well as usual.
Control centres of the brain
Doctors and scientists have found that different parts of the brain are in charge of different things. Look at the diagram for an easy way to understand.
The cerebellum controls and coordinates movements of the muscles, like walking or swinging the arms. This means that the movement is smooth and controlled and you don’t fall over when you turn around.
The outside layer of the cerebrum has special areas, which receive messages about sight, touch, hearing and taste. Other areas control movement, speech, learning, intelligence and personality.
The brain stem is in charge of keeping the automatic systems of your body working. You don’t have to think about breathing, you just do it automatically, but you can decide if you want to hold your breath for a short time. You don’t have to think about your heart beating because your brain keeps it going automatically.