brain facts

17 Nov, 2022

Brain Facts


Statistics:

The modern human brain weighs 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)

However, 5,000 years ago humans had brains that were even larger! Maybe it evolved and got slimmer to be more efficient or maybe our skulls are getting smaller because our diets include more easily chewable foods and so large, strong jaws are no longer required.

Whatever the reason; thankfully, the brain size doesn't directly correlate with intellect! The weight of Albert Einstein’s brain was 1,230 grams and that is less than an average weight of the human brain!


Anatomy

The human brain boasts of 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) and 100,000 miles of blood vessels! The number of neurons is maximum at six years of age though everyone has almost the same number at birth.

Brain develops from ectoderm (outermost covering of a developing embryo) this makes skin, hair and lens its siblings!!

The brain surface is wrinkled into folds (gyri and sulci) and these increase the surface area and thus, more processing power gets packed into the limited confines of the skull. The Cerebro Spinal fluid (CSF) surrounds and bathes the brain while coverings called the Dura, Pia and Arachnoid Mater ensheath it.

The brain is actually a fatty organ because it is rich in lipids! The living brain is so soft you could cut it with a knife. Some compare the consistency to toothpaste but I guess the ‘tofu-like’ comparison is the nearest!

The brain is a recluse! There exists a BBB (blood-brain barrier) which bars any and every molecule from having a free entry into the brain tissues! The capillaries that feed the brain are lined with tightly bound cells, which keep out large molecules. This is at once protective and inconvenient because for any drug to reach the brain, it must have the capacity to cross the BBB!


Physiology

Brain hogs energy! 20% of oxygen and 25% glucose in the circulating blood go to the brain!

It is so sensitive that it cannot survive for more than 4-6 minutes without oxygen/blood supply. Most times death of a brain cell is permanent.

For all its sensations, the brain is pain insensitive! However the coverings (Dura, Pia, arachnoid) have pain sensors and are capable of pain!


Functions

It is a myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. Each part of the brain has a function. However all the functions of the Frontal lobe (the foremost part of brain) have not yet been completely charted.

The brain is much more active at night than during the day!

The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb!

Generally, the left half of your brain (left hemisphere) controls the right side of your body; and, the right half (right hemisphere) controls the left side of your body.

Processing of information in the brain depends on the type of neuron. It can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec!

The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000.

The Hypothalamus in the brain is the thermostat for our body which keeps us at 98.6 Fahrenheit (37 degree Celsius). Shivering and sweating are the mechanisms through which this is maintained!!

Brains never stop changing! It is now a myth that once you are an adult, the brain stops making new connections! Aren’t you glad? Keep exercising your brain, because mental activity stimulates the creation of new neurons throughout your whole life. New connections are created each and every time you remember something or have a new thought.

The human brain can hold 5times as much information as the Encyclopaedia Britannica! Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes!!!Remember that!

For more info, Follow : medlineacademics.com


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dr-shantala-kumari

Dr. Shantala is a senior Obstetrician & Gynaecologist practicing in Bengaluru & works with Medline Academics.With over 25 years of experience in India & abroad, she is a published bi- lingual writer (English & Kannada).Her writings include academic articles/ chapters for text books.On the other front she has written several fiction/ non- fiction, columns & medical articles for various newspapers, weeklies & monthlies, and has authored novels which have won awards, national & international acclaim.

- Dr.Shantala Kumari