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Stroke Education
The Brain

The Stroke Network
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Abingdon,  MD 21009




The Brain

The brain is divided into three areas - brainstem, cerebellum and cerebrum:


The brain stem sits at the base of the brain and connects to the top of your spine. It maintains important body functions such as breathing, swallowing, digestion, eye movement and your heartbeat.

Brain Stem strokes are often fatal, but when they are not, they affect many of the functions mentioned above.  Click the Brain Stem button to read more about its functions and the affects of stroke.   


The cerebellum is located at the bottom of the brain, at the back of your head. It is attached to the back of the brain stem, and looks like a miniature brain. It helps control some automatic responses and behaviors, simple movements such as picking up a small object, and more complicated tasks such as balancing.

A stroke in the cerebellum could cause a lack of coordination, clumsiness, shaking or other movement disorders.  Click the Cerebellum button to read more about its functions and the affects of stroke.   


Also known as the "thinking brain," the cerebrum is the main, bulky part of your brain. This is where thinking and muscle control occurs. The cerebrum is made of two halves or hemispheres.

Usually, one of these hemispheres is slightly more developed and is called the dominant side. The dominant side is where written and spoken language is organized. In almost all of us, the left hemisphere is dominant even if you are right handed.

Because the nervous system is set up in a cross-over design, the right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, and vice versa.

Each hemisphere is divided into four sections called lobes.  Click the Cerebrum button to read more about the functions of the lobes and the affects of stroke.   

Stroke Warning Signs

bullet Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body   
bullet Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding   
bullet Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes   
bullet Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination   
bullet Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

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Original date 3/1/96 Revised 9/24/14