What Does the Pons Do?

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The ultimate conduit

The pons is arguably the most important part of the brain. It relays all the brain’s messages to other parts of the brain and without it, the brain would be nothing more than a paperweight. The pons is a structure with numerous nuclei and bundles of nerve fibers. One bundle of nerve fibers connects the pons to the cerebellum, providing a passage for the brain to transmit information to the cerebellum. The pons is a conduit for nerve bundles responsible for sensing pain, voluntary movement, and balance. Another bundle allows for motor and sensory functions in the head and face. This bundle causes muscles in the face to be stimulated to make facial expressions.The same bundle relays sensory information from the mouth including pain, temperature, and taste. It stimulates tear and saliva production and stimulates muscles for chewing and swallowing. The pons stimulates movement of the eye not only for sight, but also for rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is also responsible for regulating REM sleep, which is crucial for resting our minds and bodies.

In summary, here is a short list of what the pons is responsible for:

  • Message relay
  • Sensory and movement in mouth and face
  • Voluntary movement
  • Balance
  • Pain
  • Tear and saliva production
  • Chewing and swallowing
  • REM sleep
  • Eye movement
  • Breathing
  • Hearing
  • Sleep paralysis

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