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December 2014 Monthly Quiz

Last month's question:

Which part of the brain has a role in regulating blood pressure?

Answer: Medulla oblongata

The medulla oblongata is the lowest part of the brainstem and is continuous with the spinal cord.

The medulla oblongata is thought to have three vital centres to control autonomic functions within the body. One of these is the vasomotor centre that regulates blood pressure by adjusting the diameter of the blood vessels. 

The other two are

  • The respiratory centre which regulates the rate and depth of breathing and
  • A cardiac centre which regulates the force and rate of heart contraction.

These vital centres are all essential to life and therefore injury to the medulla oblongata could result in instant death.

The medulla oblongata also contains several nuclei that control certain actions (including reflex arcs) like swallowing, coughing, sneezing and vomiting.


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