The hindbrain includes the cerebellum, the pons and the medulla oblongata, which function collectively to support vital bodily processes.
The medulla is joined to the spinal cord and controls unconscious, yet essential, body functions such as breathing, swallowing, blood circulation and muscle tone. Located above the medulla is the pons which serves as a bridge to connect the brainstem and the cerebellum. The pons receives information from visual areas to control eye and body movements and also plays a role in controlling patterns of sleep and arousal. Information is relayed from the pons to the cerebellum to control the co-ordination of muscular movements and maintain equilibrium.
The brainstem is made up of the pons, medulla and midbrain. The medulla connects the brain to the spinal cord and its motor and sensory tracts allow communication between the brain and the rest of the body.