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What type of body functions does the medulla oblongata regulate?

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marshallpame | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 9, 2010 at 2:54 AM via web

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What type of body functions does the medulla oblongata regulate?

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:18 AM (Answer #1)

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The medulla oblongata is a part of the brain that controls many different autonomic functions, such as respiration and blood pressure. It is also involved in many cardiac functions as well as various bodily secretions.

When people have extensive damage to the medulla oblongata it can be fatal, as it responsible for many basic motor functions such breathing and swallowing. They may be able to survive with the help of a ventilator. It really depends on the damage.

The medulla oblongata is located at the bottom of the brain stem and connects the brain stem to the spinal cord.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:22 AM (Answer #2)

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The medulla oblongata is the most inferior part of the brain stem at the very base of the brain,the pons and midbrain are situated superiorly. It contains the "vital reflex center" and is a two way conduction pathway between the spinal cord below and the rest of the brain above.

The medulla controls cardiac function, respiratory function, and vasomotor centers. The vasomotor centers help determine the size, dilation or constriction, of the arteries in the cardiovascular system which play a large role in the regulation of blood pressure.

Because the medulla is critical to several important physiological functions, injury by trauma or disease almost always proves fatal.

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