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Definition of «Brain stem»

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Brain stem: The stemlike part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord. Or conversely, the extension of the spinal cord up into the brain. The brain stem is small but important. It manages messages going between the brain and the rest of the body, and it also controls basic body functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, and blood pressure. The brain stem also controls consciousness and determines whether one is awake or sleepy.

The brain stem consists of the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata.

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