The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.
(c)1998-2002; (c)2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.
All other sections in this Literature Study Guide are owned and copyrighted by BookRags, Inc.
Along with the cerebellum and the pons, the medulla oblongata makes up that portion of the brain called the hindbrain. So necessary are the functions of the medulla oblongata that with its loss comes instant death. Lying crossways between the higher brain and the body, it controls several basic autonomic functions including respiration. Located on the lowest portion of the brain stem it looks like the swollen tip of the spinal chord. Not only does it serve as the main conduit for nerve impulses that enter and leave the higher neural systems, it also functions as the pathway for communication between the right and left hemispheres.
It is within the medulla that both the sensory and motor neurons from each hemisphere cross over. This is why the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and visa versa. As one of the most primitive areas of the brain, it regulates some of the more basic functions required for life. These include the involuntary processes of swallowing and digestion as well as breathing. It also regulates the heartbeat and the diameter of certain blood vessels-thus controlling blood flow. One could consider it the master control center for the autonomic nervous system. Partnered with the cerebellum it controls movement and along with the thalamus, it regulates states of arousal and sleep.