2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus
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  • Release Date: 2024-05-13
  • brain
  • CNS
  • neurology
Video Introduction

There is a thalamus in each cerebral hemisphere just above the brainstem. The thalamus is often described as a relay station because a great deal of the information that proceeds to the cortex first stops in the thalamus before being sent on to its destination. The thalamus is subdivided into a number of nuclei that possess functional specializations for dealing with particular types of information. For example, all sensory information except olfaction travels directly from sensory receptors to a nucleus in the thalamus specialized for dealing with that type of sensory data. Then, the information is sent from the thalamus to the appropriate area of the cortex where it is further processed.

As many as 50 distinct nuclei have been identified in the thalamus but I will discuss just a few of the better known nuclei in this video. Each of these nuclei has multiple functions; I will only mention one or two of the best-known functions here. 

At the anterior of the thalamus is a nucleus called the anterior nucleus. It is extensively connected to the hippocampus and is thought to be involved in memory. The dorsomedial nucleus is thought to be inamvolved in emotional behavior and memory. The ventral anterior nucleus and ventrolateral nucleus are thought to be involved in motor functions. The ventral posterolateral nucleus, or VPL, and the ventral posteromedial nucleus, or VPM, both act as relay nuclei for sending somatosensory information to the somatosensory cortex. The lateral posterior nucleus is thought to be involved with integrating sensory input and associating it with cognitive functions. The pulvinar nucleus is a large nucleus that is involved in processing visual stimuli. The medial geniculate nucleus and lateral geniculate nucleus serve as important relays for auditory and visual information, respectively. The reticular nucleus forms a sheet that makes up the outer covering of the thalamus; it influences the activity of other nuclei within the thalamus. There are also a number of nuclei not visible in this image, such as the centromedian nucleus, which is thought to be involved in attention and arousal. [1]

  1. Nolte J. The Human Brain: An Introduction to its Functional Anatomy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA. Elsevier; 2009.
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Challenged, N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1240 (accessed on 26 May 2024).
Challenged N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1240. Accessed May 26, 2024.
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1240 (accessed May 26, 2024).
Challenged, N. (2024, May 13). 2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1240
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: The Thalamus." Encyclopedia. Web. 13 May, 2024.
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