The brainstem is located at the base of the brain between the deep structures of the cerebral hemispheres and cervical spinal cord. It is made up of the medulla oblongata, pons, and midbrain, and it continues downward to form the spinal cord. It controls automatic functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, sleeping, reflex control, and vasomotor control. The brainstem connects all parts of the Central Nervous System (CNS). All information between the brain and the rest of the body passes through the brainstem. Also frequently spelled: brain stem.