Reticular Formation

Monday, August 3, 2009

The reticular formation is a part of the brain that is involved in actions such as awaking/sleeping cycle, and filtering incoming stimuli to discriminate irrelevant background stimuli. It is essential for governing some of the basic functions of higher organisms, and is one of the phylogenetically oldest portions of the brain. The reticular formation is a diffuse group of nerve fibers which is situated inside the brainstem. The superior portion of the reticular formation is called the reticular activating system.

The reticular formation is a poorly-differentiated area of the brain stem, centered roughly in the pons. The reticular formation is the core of the brainstem running through the mid-brain, pons and medulla. The ascending reticular activating system connects to areas in the thalamus, hypothalamus, and cortex, while the descending reticular activating system connects to the cerebellum and sensory nerves.