Intro | Amygdala | Brainstem | Cerebellum | Cerebrum | Corpus Callosum | Reticular Formation | Hippocampus | Hypothalamus | Medulla | Pituitary Gland | Pons | Spinal Cord | Thalamus

Part 1: Image-Mapped Tutorial
Part 2: Matching Self-Test
Part 3: Multiple-Choice Self-Test

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The Medulla is located above the spinal cord and below the pons in the hindbrain region of the brainstem. This structure contains groups of neurons that maintain unconscious functions that are essential for maintaining life. These functions include the regulation of breathing, heart rate, and muscle tone.


The medulla is an enlarged and elaborated extension of the spinal cord that is located just within the skull. In addition to the cranial nerves that control the cardiovascular system, the medulla is the origin of cranial nerves controlling other basic functions such as vomiting, chewing, swallowing, taste, salivation, coughing, and sneezing. Damage to the medulla is usually fatal. In addition, this region is highly sensitive to the effects of morphine (and other opiate drugs), cocaine, and amphetamine. These drugs are capable of causing drug overdose by interruption of cardiovascular function.