Q:

What does the basal ganglia do?

A:

The basal ganglia plays a role in a number of functions in the brain, including involuntary motor control and some cognitive functions. The exact function of the basal ganglia is something that is still being studied and observed, though it has been determined that the area plays some part in disease, including Parkinson's Disease and Huntington's Disease. Both of these diseases affect the motor control areas of the brain.

Along with the assistance that the basal ganglia gives to the body's movements, it also plays a factor in a number of cognitive processes. The area has a number of pathways that loop not only through the basal ganglia, but also through the prefrontal association cortex and the limbic cortex. Studies show that these loops and connections play a role in choosing or enabling a number of cognitive, emotional and executive functions in the brain.

This area of the brain, located at the base of the forebrain near the thalamus, also plays an important role in memory function in the human brain. People with disorders of this part of the brain have issues with memorization and probability tasks. Due to the basal ganglia being connected to the cerebral cortex, thalamus and brainstem, the area is found to play a part in numerous function in the body, many of which are still being learned about.

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