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Fun Facts About Your Brain: Things We Don't Know
Much is unknown about the human brain, yet it is the single most important organ and makes up our identity. A person can have a heart transplant, have their appendix removed, or even have the colon removed, but the brain is irreplaceable. It is responsible for a person's attitudes, emotions, motor functions, senses, pain tolerance, health, ability to love, ability to speak, and ability to do such tasks as make out a resume for a job. There are so many more functions that the human body would not be able to do without the functioning of the brain. Each year, scientists are making more and more breakthroughs on the discoveries of how the brain processes? Although often the more that is discovered about this integral organ, the more questions are asked.
The First Findings About The Brain
As far back as 400 BC, the Greeks and Egyptians understood that the brain was the control center for the entire body. Hippocrates was aware that the brain involved our intelligence and where sensations were felt. There is even evidence through Plato's teaching in 387 BC that he taught others that our brain was where our thoughts came from.
Aristotle, on the other hand, argued against Plato. Aristotle believed that the heart is where our thoughts come from. His belief was so well accepted in his time that we are even affected by these beliefs to this day. For instance, we often will say that we memorize things by heart, and who knows, maybe that's why we often will say our heart feels one way, and our brain knows another. Aristotle's beliefs were soon disregarded in the years after Christ, and the brain was more thoroughly studied as the powerhouse for the whole body in thought, sensations, and so much more. This led to the discovery of neurological disorders, which led to discoveries on how to surgically remedy them.
There was a period during the Renaissance that hindered these discoveries due to the church banning human dissection. Once this law was lifted, discoveries have amplified over the years.
It was in the nineteenth century, when significant discoveries were discovered about the brain. In 1811, Charles Bell discovered that each of the five senses has a specific spot within the brain that is used for each of the senses. Since then there have been significant studies regarding which portion of our bodies is affected by what ability.
The Prenatal Mind
One of the first parts of a human embryo to begin to develop is the brain. It is also one of the fastest growing parts of the embryo and fetus to grow. Every minute roughly a quarter of a million new neurons are being produced in an unborn baby. By the time the baby is born, they will then have over 100 billion neurons in the brain.
This is a significant reason why lifestyle choices of the mother are extremely detrimental to the well being of an unborn child. Not only is the brain responsible for motor functions, but intelligence, overall health, emotional well being, and so much more. It is believed that the mother is tired not because their bodies are supporting two beings, but because the rate of the baby's growth, especially its brain, is extremely consuming to the mother's body due to all the synapses developing.
Some causes that may happen if a pregnant woman chooses to live a rough lifestyle, is the brain can actually end up forming clumps of brain matter outside of the brain. This actually can result in dyslexia among other problems a child faces.One great example of this is fetal alcohol syndrome.
The brain is not only developing in order for the child to use it once it's born, but the child is already storing data and memories and much much more before the mother even begins labor. That's why a baby often will be soothed when they hear their mother's voice, because they remember it from the womb. The brain is such an important part of the human body, which is why the baby's brain is proportionately much larger in comparison to its body than that of an adult's brain.
The Brain's Power
The brain has significant power even for a young embryo. Although, your brain is only about 2% of your weight at three pounds, it actually uses about 20 percent of your body's energy. It is because of this that if you do not have enough sleep or have proper nutrition, your mood, your attitude, your energy and even your motor responses are affected. It uses so much energy that the same amount could light a 25 watt light bulb. Although more impressively, the brain has more electrical impulses in one day than all the telephone poles in the whole world do!
Did you know that your brain can go from four to six minutes without oxygen, before brain cells will actually begin dying? Not to say that the brain is not severely affected by the lack of oxygen. On any given minute, the brain absorbs 1/5 of a cup of oxygen in which it supplies to itself. Almost 95% of that oxygen goes to its gray matter, the rest to its white matter. The brain absorbs that oxygen from the nearly 1000 ml of blood that is pumped through it every minute. This is equal to about 3 soda cans full of blood. Once this is realized, it does not seem surprising that 10 percent of the cranial make-up consists of blood. If the brain has a lack of blood, a person will become unconscious in about 10 seconds.
The Case of the Shrinking Brain
The human brain is not the largest of all brains in the animal kingdom, in fact the elephant's brain is significantly larger than that of a humans. Proportionately the human brain is significantly larger in proportion to its body. Also, our brains are 2 percent of our body weight, whereas an elephant's brain is only 0.15 percent of its body.
Your brain continues to grow until you are roughly 18, then around age 30 your brain will actually begin to shrink over time. Although you can still add connections in the brain, since every time you recall a memory or fact, you actually are causing a new connection in your brain. Even learning new things can cause your brain to physically change. It has been found that your brain will change within seven days of learning and continued practicing of a new task. This is one good reason to try to take up new activities such as juggling, playing piano, or a second language. It has also been found that people who are bilingual before the age of five actually have denser brain tissues.
Although many might assume that the smarter you are, the bigger your brain. Einstein's brain was actually smaller than the average brain. Interestingly enough, the portion that deals with math and spatial reasoning was about 15 percent wider than the average persons.
More Interesting Facts about the Brain
- The brain does not have any pain receptors and therefore cannot feel pain.
- It is so soft that one could cut it with a butter knife.
- The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vice versa.
- Your brain is most active during dreaming while you are asleep, not while you are awake.
- You use more than 10 percent of your brain. Every part of the human brain does have a known function, and most of us do use the whole matter.
- Many scientists do not believe dreaming serves any real purpose, while others feel that we are reorganizing our cluttered minds during our dreams.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz