The 12 nerves that go directly from the brain to parts of the head
and neck are called the cranial nerves. Cranial nerves carry sensation from the
face, head, and neck to the brain; control the muscles in the face and throat;
permit seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting; and connect the balance center
of the inner ear to the brain.
The cranial nerves also control movement of the eyes and tongue and
regulate certain body functions.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
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