What You Need to Know About the Hypothalamus

· 2 min read
What You Need to Know About the Hypothalamus

Whether you are experiencing frequent hot flashes or are concerned about your body's temperature, you should know what the hypothalamus is and how it functions. Learn about its structure, connections, and diseases. Then, learn about the symptoms and possible treatments. Afterwards, you can use the information you learned to make the right decisions for your health.

Functions

The hypothalamus is the central brain area that regulates several bodily processes. It helps control body temperature, regulates sexual behavior and reproduction, and controls the nervous system. It also regulates the functions of the pituitary gland, which helps regulate the endocrine system.

Structure

The structure of the hypothalamus is not well defined and lacks landmarks. Several systems have been proposed to delineate the different areas of the hypothalamus. One system outlines nine zones, while another describes clusters of cell bodies. Although hypothalamic nuclei are not well circumscribed in adult brains, they are more distinct in developing brains.

Connections

The hypothalamus is located in the midbrain, at the inferior surface. It is connected to the brain by two tubercular structures. One of them is called the hypothalamic sulcus, and the other is called the hypophyseal sulcus. These two structures are located on either side of the midline.

Diseases

The hypothalamus is an important part of the body, controlling hormones, metabolism, and weight. It is also responsible for moods and cognition. Several diseases can affect the hypothalamus, including genetic disorders.

Injury

The hypothalamus controls the body's temperature and status, and an injury to this structure can have a number of detrimental effects. Damaged hypothalamus tissue can cause frequent hot flashes and prolonged increase in core body temperature. It may even lead to further brain damage. Treatment for an injury to the hypothalamus will depend on the diagnosis, which may involve a variety of lab tests.

Amygdala

This study shows that activity of neurons in the hypothalamus and amygdala changes with food intake. More hypothalamic cells than amygdalar cells showed changes in mean spike frequency. Moreover, stimulation of the hypothalamus and amygdala inhibited the encoding of taste information, although the magnitude of the effect varied with the stimulating sites. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to better understand the relationship between these two structures.