logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel
Southwest USA


dailyclick
All times in EST

Autism Spectrum Disorders: 4:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Nursing Site

BellaOnline's Nursing Editor

g

The Limbic System - Hypothalamus

Guest Author - Julie Reeser, RN

This is the first essay in a four-part series about the Limbic System. This system is responsible for so much of how we perceive and respond to day-to-day life. It is our “emotional brain” and is found in all mammals. We spend large amounts of time and energy acting and reacting dependent on the function or dysfunction of these complex brain structures. The reason for this series is to lead up to a discussion of PTSD, as understanding of this tragic disorder requires this knowledge. This is a mental disorder we will see more and more frequently as our brave soldiers return home from war.

There are many structures that physically comprise this system, and we will start by discussing the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is below the thalamus, as the name implies, and is connected physically to the pituitary gland. It receives input from the hippocampus (responsible for memory function) and the amygdala (responsible for mediating emotions). It also takes in information from the body such as smell, sight, and “gut” or viscera via the vagus nerve. (2) The hypothalamus also has internal sensors that allow it to help the body maintain homeostasis. These include temperature, osmolarity, glucose, sodium, and hormones such as leptin that affects appetite. (2) It is the director of all endocrine function in the body.

Our circadian rhythms start with the light entering directly into the hypothalamus through off-shoots of the optic nerve. Many mammalian body tissues have regulatory “clocks”, but they are all controlled by the hypothalamus through hormones such as vasopressin and cortisol. The area of the brain called the circumventricular organs do not have a blood-brain barrier and are able to feed information about toxins in the blood stream to the hypothalamus, which can then release hormones to induce vomiting.(3) With the information it receives internally and externally, it uses neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and neurohormones to alter and adjust, regulating appetite, blood pressure, skin temperature, sexual function, and thirst.

Ever have a feeling of dread? That sense in your gut that something is not quite right? Your limbic system is responsible for that sensation. Your body is preparing for “fight or flight”, taking in sensory information and feeding it to the hypothalamus and thalamus. Think of them as the phone operators of long ago who directed the important calls to everyone. The hypothalamus directs them to the endocrine system, where hormones are released. It even controls how urgently those signals are perceived using neuropeptides. The thalamus directs those signals to the cerebral cortex, where decision making occurs.

Disorders of the hypothalamus are most often caused by tumors, but can also be seen with genetic factors, malnutrition, and head trauma. Symptoms relate to the hormones that are missing and can involve growth, vision, and metabolism. Treatment is cause-specific, meaning surgery for tumors or hormone replacement for deficiencies.(4)

References:
(1) http://www.ragebehavior.com/limbic.htm
(2) http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/bodynervousadvanced/956/
(3) http://thalamus.wustl.edu/course/hypoANS.html
(4) http://www.lifespan.org/adam/healthillustratedencyclopedia/1/001202.html
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Twitter Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Facebook Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to MySpace Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Del.icio.us Digg The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Yahoo My Web Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Google Bookmarks Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Stumbleupon Add The+Limbic+System+%2D+Hypothalamus to Reddit




The Limbic System - Hippocampus/Amygdala
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Nursing Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Julie Reeser, RN. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Julie Reeser, RN. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Medication Errors

Caring For Yourself

Returning to College - Advancing Nurse Education

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor