Centers of Excellence

The Role of the Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is a region of brain anatomy located deep within the brain, just above the base of the skull, on each side of the third ventricle. The main function of the hypothalamus is to regulate homeostasis (maintaining the body's status quo). The hypothalamus contains many specialized nuclei (collections or nodules of specialized brain cells), that help maintain many basic physiological functions, such as body temperature, blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and the regulation of digestion.

The hypothalamus also helps regulate complex behaviors such as appetite, thirst, sleep, general arousal, and reproductive behaviors. It plays a role in emotional reactions, including anger and aggression. In other words, the hypothalamus takes care of the many necessary brain functions that occur without us having to think about or plan them.

For more information, please contact Maggie Bobrowitz, RN at (602) 933-0686 or mbobrowitz@phoenixchildrens.com.

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