Just a little over 20 years ago, we thought the brain’s plasticity was fixed and could not change itself. However, recent uncoverings by science has debunked this myth and proven that the brain is capable of vast change. And that’s just the beginning, a lot of money is being funneled into researching the brain and how it works because there is simply too many things we do not know about the brain yet. But there is a fair amount of information we have gathered about the brain—thanks to recent advances in imaging technology. The following is a list of 21 interesting things we do know about the human brain.
1. About 85% of the total weight of a human brain is the Cerebrum—the region of the brain responsible for motor control. More than 8,000 autopsies revealed the average weight of the male brain is 1,336 grams and the female brain is 1,198 grams. As we age the weight of the brain decreases.
2. Humans have the largest brain in terms of size ratio when compared to other creatures in the world. Elephants are considered as having the largest brain, which is partially true. If the ratio of the whole body and the size of the brain are compared it is only 0.15% in the elephant case; however, it is 2% in the case of humans.
3. The adult human brain weighs nearly 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds). While it makes up only 2% of a person’s weight, it consumes around 20-30% of the total energy. That is why glucose is drained so fast in the brain.
4. A brain produces almost enough energy to light a bulb. On an average, a brain produces up to 30 – 35 watts at the time of awakening. The main energy source of the most energy hungry organ is glucose.
5. A brain uses approximately 20% of whole blood and oxygen flowing through the body to perform actions like yawning and intelligence. A person can lose consciousness if the brain is deprived of oxygen for around 7-9 seconds.
6. Yawning is the body’s way of cooling down an overheated brain. In addition, when your brain does not receive the appropriate amount of oxygen, the yawn is said to provide the remaining amount of oxygen to the brain. Anoxic brain damage is brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen supply. Without oxygen, brain cells will start to die after four to six minutes.
7. The brain consists of around 150,000 miles of the blood vessels, working perfectly in high speed. Providing blood and oxygen to the brain, these vessels are said to be strong and can bear high tension.
8. There are two types of tissues in a human brain—white matter (60%) and gray matter (40%). Transmission of signals in the brain is carried out by both of these matters. The gray matter, consisting of neurons, plays a major role in transmission of signals. It can act in both sending and receiving modes.
9. During pregnancy, the fetal brain develops at an amazing rate. There are about 251,000 neurons added every single minute. In accordance with that, there could be nearly 1,000 – 10,000 synapses just for a single neuron. Cells will continue to develop for several years after birth. The region responsible for memory and learning, the hippocampus, will continue to add new cells throughout lifetime.
10. Creating neural pathways and reshaping existing neurons is called neuroplasticity. This is the brain’s way to become more efficient and faster at completing tasks. As the brain ages through childhood the neural pathways used grow stronger and the pathways less used begin to diminish. Different tasks rely on different pathways and these pathways have the ability to change and grow—even as an adult.
11. The first sense a human brain learns to detect is touch; however, it takes around 12 weeks to understand the complete feeling. This is the reason the mind can efficiently differentiate between external and self touch to the body.
12. Amygdala is a constructive part of the brain responsible for providing the clues about how the next person is feeling by only seeing his or her face. Amygdala is a sort of built-in face reading feature of the mind. It can detect different moods such as, happiness, sadness, worry, excitement, and many others.
13. Sleeping at night is considered the most ideal time for the brain. It appears to enhance the connection between nerve cells in the brain. The brain process is believed to support the basis of memory and learning. In a recent scientific study, it is revealed the brain consolidates all the learned memories from the whole day while sleeping at night. However, one should get enough sleep in order to revive all those memories.
14. Seafood is considered the most suitable food for the brain. Based on a new study, the fatty acid present in seafood and fish can improve memory function by about 15%. Many scientists are stressing the significance of a seafood-rich diet for keeping optimal brain health, preventing the occurrence of dementia.
15. A human brain is considered the fattest part in the entire body. It contains around two-thirds fat. The brain cells need special fats—fatty acids are digested from our food into different lengths and then the brain assembles the specific type of fat to incorporate it into cellular membranes.
16. Reading aloud or listening to a story being told is one of the most “cerebrally” engaging experiences a kid can have. Watching TV for 15,000 hours only generates about 30 minutes of brain activity. However, with reading aloud, it fires up children’s brains because they have to use their imagination. This activity stimulates the electricity in the brain, promoting brain development by strengthening brain pathways.
17. Women take longer when making decision when compared to males. However, at the same time, women are more likely to stick to the decision once the decision is made. The man’s brain generally approaches decision-making and problem solving from a task-oriented view versus a creative and emotional approach.
18. Jetlag can affect a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Chronic jetlag can increase production of stress hormones, reduce the temporal lobe’s size, and interfere with learning and memory, according to recent studies. The data revealed long-term shifting of sleep cycle, with no adequate time to recuperate may cause damaging effect on the brain.
19. Every time the brain is asked to revive memory, it creates many new connections within the mind. The older the memory, the more the connections are formed.
20. Neocortex, 90% of the human brain, is one of the major and strong components in a human brain. It is responsible for providing consistent consciousness. The neocortex is divided into the temporal, occipital, frontal, and parietal lobes.
21. Brain damage can occur if the body temperature exceeds 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest body temperature recorded in history is 115.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The patient with this severe fever survived without brain damage leaving researchers baffled.
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