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[breyn-stem] /ˈbreɪnˌstɛm/
the portion of the brain that is continuous with the spinal cord and comprises the medulla oblongata, pons, midbrain, and parts of the hypothalamus, functioning in the control of reflexes and such essential internal mechanisms as respiration and heartbeat.
Also, brain stem.
Origin of brainstem
1875-80; brain + stem1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brainstem
  • To be more precise, it's not the brain but the brainstem that regulates the heartbeat.
  • The team observed similar results using rat brainstem slices and cell-culture models.
  • In contrast, the sleepy subjects showed tighter coupling with basic alertness networks in the brainstem and thalamus.
  • The auras began a year or two following surgery for a tumor that was pressing on my brainstem.
  • Many areas are affected, including the part of the brainstem where cells that control eye movement are located.
  • For instance, the brainstem controls breathing and swallowing, among other things.
British Dictionary definitions for brainstem


the stalklike part of the brain consisting of the medulla oblongata, the midbrain, and the pons Varolii
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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brainstem in Science
The part of the vertebrate brain located at the base of the brain and made up of the medulla oblongata, pons, and midbrain. The brainstem controls and regulates vital body functions, including respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure. See also reticular formation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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