Hypothalamus

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain which lies below the thalamus, in the sella turcica of the cranium, and forms the portion of the ventral region of the diencephalon. The main function of the hypothalamus is to regulate body temperature, blood pressure, heartbeat, certain metabolic processes, and other activities of the Autonomic Nervous System. It also regulates a variety of hormonal secretion by action on the pituitary gland, and controls the contraction and relaxation of the blood vessels walls.

The hypothalamus is a part of the limbic system, which influences important aspects of our behavior and even our very survival, regulating such functions as emotion, sexual drives, nutritional appetites, rhythms, and sleep cycles. The frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex connects to the hypothalamus. Disturbances in these pathways are thought to result in abnormal affective behavior.