Sitting at the base of brain, and extending below the brain, is a short stalk in the area of the brain called the brainstem. Commonly viewed as the most evolutionarily primitive part of the human brain, the brainstem forms a connection between the spinal cord and forebrain, and lies in front of the cerebellum. The brainstem is referred to as the “reptilian brain,” due to the resemblance it has with the brains of more basic creatures (e.g., lizards or fish). Whereas some texts and pathologists have viewed the cerebellum and diencephalon (e.g., thalamus/hypothalamus) to be part of the brainstem, most modern views include three primary structures: (1) the medulla, (2) midbrain, and (3) the pons. The reticular formation runs the length of these three structures. ...

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