Brain Motor Centers and the Descending Pathways They Control

I. The location of the neurons in the motor cortex varies in general with the part of the body the neurons serve.

II. Different areas of sensorimotor cortex have different functions, but there is much overlap in activity.

III. The basal ganglia form a link in a circuit that originates in and returns to sensorimotor cortex. These subcortical nuclei facilitate some motor behaviors and inhibit others.

IV. The cerebellum coordinates posture and movement and plays a role in motor learning.

V. The corticospinal pathways pass directly from the sensorimotor cortex to motor neurons in the spinal cord (or brainstem, in the case of the corticobulbar pathways) or, more commonly, to interneurons near the motor neurons.

a. In general, neurons on one side of the brain control muscles on the other side of the body.

b. Corticospinal pathways serve predominately fine, precise movements.

c. Some corticospinal fibers affect the transmission of information in afferent pathways.

PART TWO Biological Control Systems

Vander et al.: Human Physiology: The Mechanism of Body Function, Eighth Edition

PART TWO Biological Control Systems


Other descending pathways arise in the brainstem and are involved mainly in the coordination of large groups of muscles used in posture and locomotion. There is some duplication of function between the two descending pathways.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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