Neuroanatomy 12 The Basal Ganglia


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Blood pressure

This photo shows a nurse taking a woman’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The nurse is pumping the cuff with her right hand and holding a stethoscope on the patient’s arm with her left hand.
A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (credit: Bryan Mason/flickr)

Chapter objectives

After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
  • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex, in terms of the six levels of organization
  • Identify the functional characteristics of human life
  • Identify the four requirements for human survival
  • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body
  • Compare and contrast at least four medical imagining techniques in terms of their function and use in medicine

Though you may approach a course in anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in this course will serve you well in many aspects of your life. An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also benefit your own health. Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

This chapter begins with an overview of anatomy and physiology and a preview of the body regions and functions. It then covers the characteristics of life and how the body works to maintain stable conditions. It introduces a set of standard terms for body structures and for planes and positions in the body that will serve as a foundation for more comprehensive information covered later in the text. It ends with examples of medical imaging used to see inside the living body.

Quiz PDF eBook: 
Neuroanatomy 12 The Basal Ganglia
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Sample Questions from the Neuroanatomy 12 The Basal Ganglia Quiz

Question: This is a picture is of the brain of a patient with Huntington's Disease. Microscopically you would see:


Loss of melanin filled cells in the striatum.

Loss of cells in the caudate and putamen.

Degenerating axons from the substantia nigra.

All of the above.

Question: These pallidal efferents go to:




Red nucleus.

A and B.

A, B, and C.

Question: Hemiballismus on the left side is usually due to a vascular accident affecting the:


Left subthalamic nucleus.

Right subthalamic nucleus.

Right striatum.

Left striatum.

Question: Thalamic lesions are used to alleviate Parkinson's disease in cases that are refractory to L-dopa. What thalamic nucleus is the stereotaxic target for the neurosurgeons? This brain is from a patient who had a left electrolytic thalamotomy and a right chemopallidectomy 10 years before death that resulted in considerable improvement.



Ventral posterior.

Lateral dorsal.

Ventral lateral.


Question: A patient with a resting tremor in the right hand is killed in a traffic accident and is autopsied. The neuropathology report states there is a loss of cells in:


The right substantia nigra.

The left substantia nigra.

The right globus pallidus.

The left globus pallidus.

Question: The basal ganglia exert their effects on motor behavior through the:


Rubrospinal tract.

Vestibulospinal tract.

Reticulospinal tract.

Corticospinal tract.

All of the above.

Question: The prominent caudate and putamen seen in this axial or horizontal MRI section are separated by the:


Anterior limb of the internal capsule.

Genu of the internal capsule.

Posterior limb of the internal capsule.

All limbs of the internal capsule.

Question: The majority of hypertensive hemorrhages occur in the basal ganglia. Rupture of branches of which artery are most common?


Middle cerebral.

Lenticulostriate or lateral striate.

Anterior cerebral.

Anterior communicating.

Posterior communicating.

Question: Pallidothalamic axons cross the


Anterior limb of the internal capsule.

Genu of the internal capsule.

Posterior limb of the internal capsule.

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Disclaimer:  This course does NOT provide the education or experience needed for the diagnosing or treating any medical condition, all site contents are provided as general information only and should not be taken as a medical advice.
Source:  Stephen C. Voron, M.D., Suzanne S. Stensaas, Ph.D. , Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132,
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