Damage to the Hypothalamus Essay

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“The hypothalamus is a small area near the base of the brain just ventral to the thalamus” (Kalat 90). It makes up about 1/300 total brain weight in humans, and it is about the size of an almond (www.factmonster.com). Since the hypothalamus is attached to the pituitary gland, which is considered the
“master gland,” the hypothalamus is the structure which actually has master control over promoting or inhibiting hormone release, affecting many glands (Kalat 327). The main function of the hypothalamus is to regulate homeostasis, but its wide range of control affects the generation of behaviors involved in eating, drinking, temperature regulation, sexual behavior, copulation, maternal behavior, general arousal,
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The hypothalamus also produces releasing and inhibiting hormones which travel to the anterior pituitary, where they control the release of six hormones synthesized there. The six hormones synthesized in the anterior pituitary control stimulation of the thyroid gland, production of progesterone and testosterone, ovulation stimulation, production of estrogen, maturation of ovum, sperm production, secretion of steroid hormones by the adrenal gland, milk production, and body growth (Kalat 325). In general the “lateral and anterior parts of the hypothalamus support activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes decreased blood pressure, slowing of pulse, regulation of digestion, defecation, and reproduction; while the medial and posterior areas regulate activation consisting of acceleration of pulse and breathing rates, high blood pressure, arousal, fear, and anger” (www.geocities.com).

“Damage to the hypothalamus can result from surgery, physical trauma, degeneration due to old age, disease, a lesion, or tumor. The results of damage can be varied and depend on the areas of the hypothalamus involved. Diabetes insipidus can be caused by hypothalamic damage or by damage to the hypothalamic- pituitary tract. This disease reduces vasopressin production, resulting in large volumes of urine being produced at all times.
Other hypothalamic disorders can include sexual abnormalities
(such as
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