The thalamus (from Greek θάλαμος, "chamber") is a large mass of gray matter located in the dorsal part of the diencephalon (a division of the forebrain). Nerve fibers project out of the thalamus to the cerebral cortex in all directions, allowing hub-like exchanges of information. It has several functions, such as the relaying of sensory signals, including motor signals to the cerebral cortex and the regulation of consciousness, sleep, and alertness. Anatomically, it is a paramedian symmetrical structure of two halves (left and right), within the vertebrate brain, situated between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It forms during embryonic development as the main product of the diencephalon, as first recognized by the Swiss embryologist and anatomist Wilhelm His Sr. in 1893. The thalamus is a paired structure of gray matter located in the forebrain which is superior to the midbrain, near the center of the brain, with nerve fibers projecting out to the cerebral cortex in all directions. The medial surface of the thalamus constitutes the upper part of the lateral wall of the third ventricle, and is connected to the corresponding surface of the opposite thalamus by a flattened gray band, the interthalamic adhesion. The lateral part of the thalamus is the phylogenetically newest part of the thalamus (neothalamus), and includes the lateral nuclei, the pulvinar and the medial and lateral geniculate nuclei. There are areas of white matter in the thalamus including the stratum zonale that covers the dorsal surface, and the external and internal medullary laminae. The external lamina covers the lateral surface and the internal lamina divides the nuclei into anterior, medial and lateral groups. The thalamus derives its blood supply from a number of arteries: the polar artery (posterior communicating artery), paramedian thalamic-subthalamic arteries, inferolateral (thalamogeniculate) arteries, and posterior (medial and lateral) choroidal arteries. These are all branches of the posterior cerebral artery.
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