Brainstem

Functions

  • Sensations of pain, temperature and itch
  • Maintaining consciousness
  • Regulating the sleep cycle
  • Regulating heart rate, breathing, sleeping, and eating.

Symptoms of Brainstem problems

  • Visual disturbances
  • Pupil abnormalities
  • Changes in sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hearing problems
  • Vertigo
  • Swallowing
  • Speech difficulty
  • Voice change
  • Coordination problems
  • Altered heart rate
  • Altered blood pressure
  • Altered sleeping cycle
  • Brain fog

Tuberomammillary nucleus (limbic system)

Symptoms of Tuberomammillary problems

  • Fatigue
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Impaired sleep
  • Weight problems

About The Tuberomammillary System

The tuberomammillary nucleus is located within the hypothalamus. It consists of  histamine-releasing neurons and is involved with the control of:

  • Wakefulness
  • Cognitive function
  • Memory
  • Sleep
  • Weight

Locus Coeruleus

Function & Location

Some medications including norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are believed to work through this area.

Research continues to reveal that norepinephrine is a critical regulator of numerous activities–from stress response to the formation of memory to attention and arousal.

The locus coeruleus is responsible for mediating many of the sympathetic effects during stress.

The most important functions influenced by this system are:

  • Wakefulness
  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Motivation
  • Behavioral flexibility
  • Behavioral control
  • Stress (psychological)
  • Emotions
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Posture and balance

Activation by Stress

It is activated by stress and will respond by increasing norepinephrine secretion, which in turn will:

  • Alter cognitive function (through the prefrontal cortex)
  • Increase motivation (through nucleus accumbens)
  • Activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
  • Increase the sympathetic (fight or flight)/inhibit parasympathetic (rest and digest) system (through the brainstem).

The released norepinephrine can act on α2 receptors to increase working memory, while an excess of norepinephrine may decrease working memory by binding to the lower-affinity α1 receptors.

Activation of the locus coeruleus via the amygdala is a major factor in most stress-induced disorders, especially PTSD.  Combat-related PTSD to be associated with a less neurons in the locus coeruleus (LC).

The locus coeruleus is almost completely inactivated in REM sleep.

Alzheimer’s Disease

There is up to 80% loss of locus coeruleus neurons in Alzheimer’s disease.

The norepinephrine from locus ceruleus cells provides an anti-inflammatory environment around the neurons, glial cells, and blood vessels in the neocortex and hippocampus. It also suppresses amyloid beta production.

This suggests that degeneration of the locus coeruleus might be responsible for increased amyloid beta deposition in Alzheimer’s brains.

Neurochemicals

  • Norepinephrine

Symptoms of Locus Coeruleus problems

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