The 12 pairs of cranial nerves emerge from the brain stem or other parts of the brain—they are shown in Fig. 8–11. The namecranial indicates their origin, and many of them do carry impulses for functions involv- ing the head. Some, however, have more far-reaching destinations.
The impulses for the senses of smell, taste, sight, hearing, and equilibrium are all carried by cranial nerves to their respective sensory areas in the brain. Some cranial nerves carry motor impulses to muscles of the face and eyes or to the salivary glands. The vagus nerves (vagus means “wanderer”) branch exten-sively to the larynx, heart, stomach and intestines, and bronchial tubes.
The functions of the cranial nerves are summarized in Table 8–4.