← Back

Surgical Technologist’s Guide to Brain Anatomy

Despite all the research and studies we have, we still do not know all there is to know about the human brain. While there is still much to learn, we do know that the nervous system has many divisions working in conjunction with one another. This article will focus largely on the central nervous system, related neurological pathways and neurolinguistics,  with an emphasis on the brain its anatomy. You can find a basic introduction to the peripheral nervous system at Dartmouth University’s Neuroscience department. The central nervous system directs the functions of all tissues of the body and can be seen through many different techniques, including pictures, MRI imaging, cross-sectioning, and labeled diagrams. Below you’ll find a collection of resources categorized by images of the brain, guides to neurolinguistics, studies on neurological pathways and further reading and images about specific parts of the central nervous system, categorized by the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. Included at the very end are links to journals, research and organizations related to brain anatomy.



Removal and Study of the Cat Brain – From U.C. Clermont, this site includes labeled images of the ventral view of the cat brain, mid sagittal split sheep brain, and mid sagittal cross section of the human brain.

The Vascular System of the Brain – From Karolinska Institutet, an excellent, interactive tool to view the vascular part of the brain from all sorts of angles and cross sections.

Atlas of Vascular Anatomy – Includes colorful and labeled images of the head and neck, spinal cord, and the thorax.

Alzheimer’s MRI comparison – Comparison of arterial spin labeling and fluorodeoxyglucose images in control subjects with Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s patients.

Neuroradiology – The Department of Neuroradiology from USC’s School of Medicine presents a collection of images of advanced MRI imaging, spine imagine, and head and neck imaging.

Interactive Atlases contains gross and histological sections, vascular and pathway diagrams, and MRI animations as well as helpful self-tests per section. 

UCLA Online Neurovasculature Web-Atlas Resource is a comprehensive tutorial resource covering both anatomy and vascularization of the brain. This site offers clear explanations and diagrams, and quiz sections.

Harvard University’s The Whole Brain Atlas contains CT, MRI and PET scans and videos of the brain in its normal state as well as its alterations due to age.

University of California-Davis’ Brain Maps offers 60 Terabytes of high resolution images of the brain (gross, histological and histochemical sections) for humans and several other species. 

MRI Atlas of the Human Brain contains a repository of MRI images of the brain with labeled structures and diagrams.

Comparative Mammalian Brain Collections  is a comprehensive and fascinating collection for students and researchers completing comparative studies of the brain.


Language, Linguistics and the Brain

From Thought to Language describes the ways in which thought is transformed into verbal language.

Brain and Language is an online lecture from the University of Pennsylvania outlining and analyzing several key concepts and connections between the brain and language.

Neurocognitive Linguistics contains an extensive collection of resources on the brain and language, including a glossary of terminology, power point presentations, and related academic articles.

Language and the Brain provides comprehensive and detailed information on the connections between language and the brain.

Linguistic Society of America is a professional society professional society in the United States that is exclusively dedicated to the advancement of the scientific study of language. This resource explores research into the brain and linguistics.


Guides of Neurological Pathways

Plasticity in Neural Networks provides detailed information on neural networks.

Cranial Nerve Tutorial provides significant information on the functions of the cranial nerves.

Neuroanatomy Practice Exam contains a valuable practice exam compiled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Hyperbrain: A Resource for Learning Neuroanatomy  includes thousand of images and hundreds of linked illustrated glossary terms, as well as movies, quizzes and interactive animations.



The Cerebral Cortex – A basic overview of the cerebral cortex, including the neocortex, eye fields, vidual and auditory cortices, as well as the primary and secondary motor cortices.

The Cerebral Lobes – Focus on the neuroanatomy of cerebral lobes, cerebral cortex, and Brodmann’s Areas with diagrams of the cerebral lobes, Brodmann’s classification system, and the Homunculus.

The Basal Ganglia – An excellent explanation and image of the collection of nuclei, including descriptions of each division and descriptions of how the basal ganglia is related to Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and cerebral palsy.

The Hippocampus – From Rice University, a thorough account of the hippocampus anatomy, physiology, anatomy, and roles in spatial memory, memory and its evolution.

The Amygdala – From the University of Idaho, a cross section of the brain with the amygdala and the uncus highlighted. Also includes a coronal view of the brain.

The Role of the Amygdala in Fear and Panic – There is a fair amount of correlation between the emotional states of fear and the activity of the limbic system, the amygdala specifically.

Thalamus – An impressive collection of slides and images of thalamus and its internal capsule, thalmic nuclei, coronal sections from the thalamus, and the somatotopy in a monkey ventrobasal nucleus.

Hypothalamus – An introduction to the hypothalamus, with a ventral view, cross-sections, and diagrammatic representations to supplement the reading, and a series of practice questions.


Diencephalon & Mesencephalon – A brief comparison of the two brain divisions with colored diagrams and detailed descriptions of the components of both divisions.

Midbrain Anatomy Images – A collection of pictures of the midbrain in a variety of different animals, including fish, turtle, possum, cat, monkey, and human.


The Midbrain, Pons, Medulla and Reticular Formation – From the Neuroscience on the web series, a great explanation of how the mesencephalon interacts with the pons, medulla, and reticular formation.

Overview: Functions of the Cerebellum – From John Hopkins University, a detailed account of the cerebellum’s functions, anatomy and divisions, histology and connectivity of the cerebellar cortex, and the functional subdivisions of the cerebellum.

The Adrenal Medulla – An introduction to medullary hormones responsible for the “fight or flight” response, catecholamine synthesis, the effects of epinephrine on energy metabolism, and more.

Medulla Slides – From Colorado college, a collection of different slides of the medulla, including numbered portions corresponding to the cuneate fasiculus, gracile nucleus, spinal trigeminal tract, and many others.



Neural Plasticity  publishes research and review articles on basic neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, biological psychology, and biological psychiatry.

Brain Structure and Function is an open access journal which publishes a variety of articles on the brain’s anatomic structure and function.

Behavioral and Brain Functions is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal which considers original human and animal research, reviews and data modeling on neurobiology and behavior. 

Brain Connectivity  publishes integrated media content in the areas of biotechnology, biomedical research, clinical medicine and surgery, among others.

Experimental Brain Research publishes articles on experimental research of the central and peripheral nervous system in the fields of molecular, physiology, behaviour, neurochemistry, developmental, cellular and molecular neurobiology and cerebral function.



McGovern Institute of Brain Research at MIT is a world-renowned institute composed of neuroscientists committed to understanding how the brain works and discovering new ways to prevent and treat brain disorders.

Brain Research Foundation  supports neuroscience research that leads to advanced understanding of brain function in children and adults.



National Neurotrauma Society  promotes neurotrauma research by enhancing communications, providing a forum, and increasing support on the national and international level.