Many of us think that the heart is the master organ of our body. It is true that the heart is very essential for our survival. It’s the reason why oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the different tissues of our body through the use of blood. However, the heart is only a follower to another organ. This means that another part of our body is the one controlling the functions of the heart, and this is none other than the medulla oblongata. So what is the medulla oblongata and what does the medulla do?
The medulla or medulla oblongata is considered a part of our brain. This section is located on the lower portion just below the cerebellum. This small portion of the brain is recognized as part of the hindbrain or otherwise known as the brain stem. As we all know, our brain is consisted of three major parts; the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. Each part of the brain has a specific role in our normal functioning; however, none of these may be as vital as the responsibilities of the medulla.
The brain stem is also further subdivided into three parts; the midbrain, the pons and of course the medulla oblongata. As a whole, the brain stem connects the spinal cord to the brain as it delivers messages from the different areas of the body to the brain and vice versa. The brain stem is the one that is considered the thirst and hunger center and it also controls our sleeping pattern. Nevertheless, it is specifically the medulla that controls the major roles of the other organs. When we say major, it means that without doing these roles for even a short amount of time, our body is not capable of surviving. These responsibilities include our breathing or respiration. It can detect the level of gases (O2 and CO2) in our bloodstream and can relay messages to the nervous system. It is also the one responsible for our blood pressure and cardiac rate. It can control the special fibers in the heart, which then affects the rate of the heart’s beat thus affecting also the blood pressure. This way, blood can be oxygenated as fast as possible. In addition to these, the medulla is also the one that controls certain reflexes in our body such as sneezing, coughing and vomiting in order to be used as a defense.
These are the reasons why the medulla is considered one of the most important organs in the body. The medulla oblongata may be small, but its role in our body is definitely big! Now that we know what the medulla does, it is time for us to take care of our health as we try to discover the functions of each our body parts.