reticular activating system
The part of the reticular formation in the brainstem that plays a central role in bodily and behavioral alertness; its ascending connections affect the function of the cerebral cortex and its descending connections affect bodily posture and reflex mechanisms.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.