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Circulatory System of the Head

Cerebral circulation refers to the movement of blood through the network of blood vessels supplying the brain. The arteries deliver oxygenated blood, glucose and other nutrients to the brain and the veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart, removing carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and other metabolic products. Since the brain is very vulnerable to compromises in its blood supply, the cerebral circulatory system has many safeguards. Failure of these safeguards results in cerebrovascular accidents, commonly known as strokes. The amount of blood that the cerebral circulation carries is known as cerebral blood flow. The presence of gravitational fields or accelerations also determine variations in the movement and distribution of blood in the brain, such as when suspended upside-down. The following description is based on idealized human cerebral circulation. The pattern of circulation and its nomenclature vary between organisms.