Where is the part of the human brain located that is responsible for the sensation of pain?
Actually, a great deal of pain is thought to be processed in the top of the spinal cord. Other than that, I don't know, but I would suspect it would be close by in the limbic system and probably involve other parts of the brain as well.
The nerves in your body, generally, branch out directly from the spinal cord. When a nerve is stimulated by touch, the signal travels to the spinal cord, up the spinal cord, and into the brainstem. The pathways reach the thalamus, which is a sort of switching station in the brain, at the top of the brainstem.
The information is then passed on - there is some processing done in the thalamus, but I am unable to elaborate on that - from the thalamus to the somatosensory cortex. If you point toward your brain at the top of your head, you're in the vicinity. This part of the cortex seems to map the body - it's pretty neat, actually, and very precise.
Scientists have mapped out this area of the cortex fairly extensively. You can get a good idea of it's layout here: http://www.alinenewton.com/neuroscience.htm
Just scroll down a little.
If you are cut by a blade on the finger, the sensory receptors in the somatic nervous system in your fingers will respond and send neural impulses to the central nervous system (the brain). The specific part of the brain that receives this sensory input is the primary somatosensory cortex in the parietal lobe. However, the thalamus must receive the neural information first before the sensory cortex receives it. If you're cut on your right finger it will most likely be processed in your left hemisphere first, and vice versa.
Has anyone else noticed that the cortex processes information from the foot suspiciously close to the genitalia? Maybe we can finally understand that godawful foot fetish! Cross wiring of some sort ;)
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