Bulb, from the Latin bulbus, is a blister-shaped biological structure. The term has several uses and applications, referring to the organ of storage of nutrients in certain plants and the electronic component that allows amplifying or modifying an electrical signal, among other issues.
In the realm of anatomy, the concept is used to refer to the medulla oblongata, also known as the brainstem or myeloid bone. It is a segment of the brainstem that lies between the pons and the foramen magnum of the skull.
The medulla oblongata, which borders the spinal cord and can be said to be its continuation, is shaped like a truncated cone with a lower vertex. An anterior face (with a longitudinal groove), a lateral face and a posterior face (with a mid-posterior groove) can be distinguished.
According to DigoPaul, another division of the medulla oblongata is segmented into the pyramidal decussation, the sensory decussation and an upper part where the bulbar olives are found.
Among the functions of the medulla oblongata, there is the transmission of impulses from the spinal cord to the brain and the control of respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiac and vasoconstrictor activities. The transmission of impulses occurs through various nerve fibers, both ascending and descending.
The medulla oblongata regulates the secretion of digestive juices and performs reflex functions such as swallowing, coughing, sneezing, and vomiting, among many others.
There are various health problems that can strongly affect the aforementioned medulla oblongata. Among them are those that are congenital, degenerative, vascular, tumor, those that have their origin in a metabolic issue or those of an inflammatory-infectious nature.
Specifically, the most common and serious diseases that severely damage this part of the brain in question are the following:
• Multisystemic atrophy. Neurodegenerative is this that has an unknown cause and that usually occurs in adults. An atrophy of the cerebellum is basically the main consequence that it has.
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. One of the most frequent diseases with regard to the affection of the medulla oblongata is this one that translates into what would be an atrophy and subsequent degeneration of the cortico-spinal fibers.
• Multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, there are many cases of people with this pathology that has no cure and that it is common for it to appear in women between 20 and 40 years of age. The main consequence of it is the notable decrease in mobility, although it can even degenerate into absolute disability.
• Behçet’s disease. Ulcers of various kinds and also nodular lesions are the main manifestations of the former.
• Cancer of the medulla oblongata. Of this serious pathology, it should be emphasized that it presents various treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. Vision or hearing problems, vomiting, weakness or even lethargy are some of the symptoms that it presents.
Importantly, damage to the medulla oblongata is fatal, causing immediate death from respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest.