What are the Nerves in the Brain?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2019
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There are many different nerves in the brain, known as cranial nerves, that are responsible for various body functions and movements. Each nerve plays an individual role, but many of the nerves work together to perform more complicated bodily functions. Some of the nerves in the brain are the facial nerves, the trigeminal nerve, and the olfactory nerve. Some of the functions of the cranial nerves include chewing, eye movement, and facial sensations.

The olfactory nerve is one of the cranial nerves in the brain. This nerve is responsible for the sense of smell. The cells of the olfactory nerve are unique in that they are constantly regenerating. This is the only nerve in the human body that possesses this ability.

The optic nerve is the second of the cranial nerves in the brain. This nerve connects the brain to the eye and is responsible for carrying light impulses. The next two nerves in the brain are called the oculomotor and trochlear nerves. These nerves help to control certain eye movements. The abducens nerve also assists with some eye movements.


The trigeminal nerve is also one of the nerves in the brain. This is the nerve that is primarily responsible for sensations in the face. The trigeminal nerve is not only a sensory nerve, but it also serves as a motor nerve, helping to make chewing possible. This nerve contains three branches known as the ophthalmic nerve, the maxillary nerve, and the mandibular nerve. If damage to the trigeminal nerve occurs, partial or complete numbness of the face may occur.

Other nerves in the brain include the facial nerve, the vestibulocochlear nerve, and the glossopharyngeal nerve. The facial nerve assists in the ability to taste and helps to control some of the muscles in the face that are responsible for facial expressions. The vestibulocochlear nerve assists in balance and hearing. The glossopharyngeal nerve helps to control some of the muscles that are used for swallowing and assists in the ability to taste.

The vagus nerve, spinal accessory nerve, and the hypoglossal nerve are also among the cranial nerves in the brain. The vagus nerve helps with both sensory and motor functions, aiding in the processes of digestion, heart rate, and glandular functioning. The spinal accessory nerve helps to control the muscles involved in the movements of the head. The hypoglossal nerve is responsible for controlling the muscle movements of the tongue.


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