The key difference between brainstem and cerebellum is that brainstem is the region of the brain that connects the brain to the spinal cord, while the cerebellum is the middle part of the brain that helps in motor learning, motor coordination, and equilibrium.
The brain and spinal cord are the two components of the central nervous system. The brain regulates almost every process occurring in our body, including thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature and hunger. Of these, the brain has three divisions as cerebrum, brainstem, and cerebellum. The cerebrum is the front of the brain, while the brainstem is the middle of the brain. Also, the cerebellum is the back of the brain. Moreover, the brainstem coordinates the movement of eyes and mouth, sensory messages such as hot, pain, and loud, etc., respirations, consciousness, cardiac function, involuntary muscle movements, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and swallowing. The cerebellum, on the other hand, coordinates voluntary muscle movements and to maintain posture, balance, and equilibrium.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Brainstem
3. What is Cerebellum
4. Similarities Between Brainstem and Cerebellum
5. Side by Side Comparison – Brainstem vs Cerebellum in Tabular Form
What is Brainstem?
The brainstem is one of the three main parts of the brain. It is the middle of the brain and connects the brain to the spinal cord. The brainstem consists of the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla. Midbrain is the forward-most portion of the brainstem associated with vision, hearing, motor control, sleep and wakefulness, arousal (alertness), and temperature regulation. Pons is the deep part of the brain that contains many of the control areas for eye and face movements. The medulla is the lowest part of the brainstem that contains important control centers for the heart and lungs.
The brainstem is a critical part of the brain. It is essential for maintaining critical body functions, such as respiration and regulation of the heart, etc. We cannot survive without a brainstem. It also regulates sleep and consciousness. Moreover, it functions in relaying sensory messages such as hot, pain, touch, vibration, and proprioception.
What is Cerebellum?
Cerebellum, also known as the little brain, is a part of the brain that is identifiable. It is also a major feature of the hindbrain of vertebrates. It is located below the pons. It appears as a separate structure attached to the bottom of the brain. Structurally, it consists of a tightly folded layer of cortex, with white matter underneath and a fluid-filled ventricle at the base. Moreover, there are three distinguishable lobes in the cerebellum. They are the anterior lobe, posterior lobe, and flocculonodular lobe. Cerebellem is the youngest part of the brain, and it changes with age.
The cerebellum plays a key role in movement and coordination. It maintains the balance of the body. It also coordinates the movements. Moreover, it coordinates eye movements and is responsible for motor learning. Hence, cerebellum dysfunction mainly causes the loss of muscle coordination and control, known as ataxia. It can also cause blurry vision, tiredness, difficulty in swallowing and precise muscle control, etc.
What are the Similarities Between Brainstem and Cerebellum?
- The brainstem and cerebellum are two of the three main components of the brain.
- The cerebellum is connected to the brainstem.
- They are crucial anatomical structures that are responsible for simplifying every second of life and keeping us alive.
What is the Difference Between Brainstem and Cerebellum?
The brainstem is the part that connects the brain to the spinal cord, while the cerebellum is the part of the brain located back of the brain connecting to the brainstem. So, this is the key difference between brainstem and cerebellum. Moreover, the brainstem is responsible for critical body functions such as respiration, regulation of the heart, consciousness, and sleep cycle. Meanwhile, the cerebellum is responsible for motor learning, motor coordination and equilibrium.
The below infographic tabulates side by side the differences between brainstem and cerebellum.
Summary – Brainstem vs Cerebellum
The cerebrum, brainstem and cerebellum are three major parts of the brain. Of these, the brainstem is the most caudal region that connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord. Moreover, it is essential in critical body functions such as heartbeat, respiration, consciousness and sleep cycle. Meanwhile, the cerebellum is the part that is primarily responsible for the coordination and precision of motor functions and motor learning. The cerebellum is connected to the brainstem. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between brainstem and cerebellum.