Anatomy : Brain : Cerebrum

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The cerebrum, also known as the forebrain, is the largest part of the human brain, and is located above the tentorium (a fibrous membrane which separates the top and bottom of the brain) in the vault of the skull.  The cerebrum consists of two portions, the diencephalon and the telencephalon. 

The diencephalon consists of the portion of the brain surrounding the third ventricle (fluid filled cavity within the brain).  Its major structures include the thalamus and hypothalamus, subthalamus and epithalamus. The thalamus functions as a relay station, modulating information as it passes from one portion of the nervous system to another.  The hypothalamus is important for the control of endocrine, metabolic, autonomic (controls digestion, constriction of blood vessels, etc) and emotional function.  The subthalamus is involved in modulating involuntary movement.  The epithalamus consists of the pineal gland and habenular nuclei, and is involved in the integration of somatic and olfactory information. 

The telencephalon consists of the two cerebral hemispheres, which contain a convoluted surface of gray matter (cerebral cortex) and underlying white matter (fiber tracts sending information to and from the cortex).  The convoluted surface consists of bumps or folds known as gyri, which are separated by fissures called sulci.

In the deep portion of the cerebral hemisphere is gray matter known as basal nuclei or basal ganglia.  The nuclei in this region are the amygdaloid nucleus, caudate nucleus and lentiform nucleus.  Additional structures and connecting pathways in this region are the claustrum and internal capsule.


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