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A    

Addiction   a constant craving for and reliance on a drug or behavior
Alzheimer's disease

  a disease of old age, marked by gradual loss of memory and intellectual abilities
Auditory
cortex

  receives and processes information from the ears
Axon


  a long fiber carrying impulses away from the cell body of a neuron toward other cells
B    

Brain stem

  composed of the midbrain and medulla oblongata, it connects the spinal cord with the forebrain and cerebrum
C    

Cerebellum   a large structure located in the posterior part of the brain. The cerebellum controls balance and posture and coordinates movement.
Cerebrum   the largest part of the brain, it controls the sense organs. All thoughts, memories, imagination and decisions take place in the cerebrum.
Cerebral cortex   the outer layer of the human forebrain
Central nervous system   composed of the brain and the spinal cord. Together, they analyze incoming information from outside the body, store it and send out instructions on how the body should respond.
Cerebral hemisphere   the wrinkled part of the brain, with a gray covering on the outside and white nerves inside
Cerebrosinal fluid   the liquid that fills the compartments inside the brain called ventricles and helps nourish the inner brain parts
Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan   a procedure that takes a picture of a "slice" of the brain with no discomfort or risk to the individual. Machinery beams weak X-rays through the head and displays the results on a computer television screen.
Corpus callosum   a long bundle of nerves linking the two halves of the brain, so that "the right hand knows what the left hand is doing"
Cranial brain   a nerve that joins directly to the brain, rather than to the spinal cord
Cranial nerves   nerves that bring sensory signals for touch from the face, skin, nose and inside the mouth
Cortex   the outside layer of various organs, such as the gray matter covering the brain
D    

Dendrite   the widely branching fibers that convey information toward a neuron
E    

F    

Forebrain   the part of the brain in the front of the head that includes the cerebral cortex
Frontal lobe   the center for motor activity and speech
G    

Glial cells   cells that supply nutrients and other chemicals to repair the brain after injury. They also attack invading bacteria. Unlike neurons, they do not carry messages.
Gray matter   the outside of the brain, which is composed of microscopic cells made up of layers of nerve cells
Gustatory cortex   the part of brain that receives tastes
H    

Hindbrain   the posterior of the brain, which includes the cerebellum and the medulla
Hippocampus   a part of the brain that plays a crucial role in processing various forms of information as part of long-term memory
Hormone   a chemical made in the endocrine gland. It controls activities of certain body parts.
Hypothalamus    
    the central monitor for many functions. The hypothalamus keeps the body temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the part of the brain that makes you feel hungry, thirsty, sleepy, angry, afraid or happy. The hypothalamus also controls the pituitary gland.
I    

J    

K    

L    

Left hemisphere   the left half of the brain that generally controls the ability to read, speak and do mathematical problems
Limbic system   essentially alike in all mammals, it lies above the brain stem and under the cortex and consists of a number of interconnected structures. Researchers have linked these structures to hormones, drives, temperature control, emotion and memory function.
Long-term memory   memory that continues to be stored after the attention is distracted from the memory-causing event
M    

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)   scans magnetic fields to make a picture of a layer of the brain. It looks at cerebrospinal fluid in the brain
Medulla   the part of the brain that controls involuntary functions such as breathing, vomiting, salivation, vomiting and coughing
Motor cortex   the part of the cerebral cortex that controls movement
Motor nerve   a nerve that transmits motor nerve signals from the brain to the muscles, telling them to draw together to decrease in size
Myelin sheath   a fatty covering around an axon. Myelin acts like insulation around an electric wire and helps send nerve messages.
N    

Nerve   a long, thin body part specialized for carrying information in the form of tiny electrical signals
Neuron   a cell that carries signals back and forth from the brain to other parts of the body
Neurotransmitter   a substance that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse
O    

Occipital lobe   a lobe of the brain that holds the major visual-reception area
Olfactory cortex   receives and processes information from the nose
Olfactory nerve   brings information from the nose about smell. The wide part is called the olfactory bulb.
Optic nerve   a cranial nerve that carries sensory signals from the eyes. It contains more than 1 million axons or nerve fibers.
P    

     
Peripheral nervous system   nerves that act as a liaison between the central nervous system and the rest of the body
Pituitary gland   the master controller of the body’s hormone system. It regulates growth and other important processes in the body.
Pons   fibers on the medulla
     
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan   shows where the brain is the busiest and the most active
Q    

R    

Response   a message to a stimulus
Right hemisphere   the right half of the brain, which is the center of musical ability, artistic creation, the ability to understand shape and form and even the sense of humor
S    

Second messenger   a chemical within a neuron, activated by a synaptic transmitter, that, in turn, initiates processes within the neuron
Sensory neuron   a cell that responds directly to a stimulus such as light, sound or chemicals in the environment.
Short-term memory   memory that remains over a brief amount of time
Somato sensory cortex   the "touch center," which receives information from the skin
Stimulus   something that makes a nerve cell fire off a message called a response, such as touch, sound, light, taste, temperature or smell.
Synapse   a tiny gap that a nerve impulse passes from one neuron to another
T    

Temporal lobe   contains centers for auditory reception and memory
Thalamus   a structure in the center of the forebrain. The thalamus is the place that first receives messages signaling sensations, such as pain, temperature and pressure on the skin. These messages are then sent to the cerebrum.
U    

V    

Visual cortex   receives and processes information from the eyes
W    

X    

Y    

Z    



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