If you can stand on one foot, chew gum, and roll your eyes at a bad joke, thank your pons.

Brain DiagramIt is a crucial part of the messaging process in your brain and body; without it the various parts of your brain would be unable to communicate. The word Pons, means ‘bridge’ and that’s exactly what it does. It creates a bridge between the various parts of the brain and the spinal cord. It is located in the hindbrain and connects the medulla oblongata with cerebral cortex. It handles the transfer of information from the spinal cord to the brain and even the cross hemisphere communication between the right and left lobes of your brain.

pons balanceThe Pons is pretty amazing for such a small structure. It’s only approximately about an inch in size but it is a major point of origination for quite a few of your cranial nerves. It is involved in the process of eating, from biting, chewing, swallowing and even to transmitting mouthfeel and some flavors. It plays a critical role in your respiration helping to transmit the motor signals involved with inhaling and exhaling. The Pons is also a major player in sleeping and dreaming, it is where REM sleep signals originate, in fact, it’s thanks to the Pons that you dream such rich dreams but don’t actually act on any of them. It stimulates the inhibitory area of the Medulla and pretty much encourages complete paralysis during REM states.

Basically, anything that has to do with motor/movement or sensory data passes through your Pons in some way. This even includes things like facial expression and eye movement, also bladder control. The Pons is involved in how you experience balance and equilibrium and also how you maintain your posture. If you just adjusted your posture while reading this, then, again, you can thank your Pons. All in all, your Pons is pretty darn fascinating and worthy of some gratitude. It’s because of your perfect Pons that you can enjoy the simple things in life, like enjoy a delicious meal with friends, go for a lovely walk in nature, even have fulfilling dreams. Props to your Pons!