12 Interesting Facts About The Brain
- Written by Melanie Smith
- June 1, 2021
As one of the most complex organs in the body, there are some aspects of the brain scientist still don’t fully understand.
Discover just how fascinating your brain is and how vital it is to keep it healthy with these interesting facts.
Here are 12 interesting facts about the brain.
1. The Brain Can Make New Neurons For Up To 100 Years
Neuroscientists used to think the brain couldn’t make new neurons are and we were just born with a set amount. Only in the last 50 years did they discover that we can grow new ones, a process called neurogenesis. Over the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research and discovery in this area.
2. The Brain Itself Is Not Capable Of Feeling Pain
As the brain itself does not contain nociceptors, it cannot feel pain. The brain is so insensitive to painful stimuli, neurosurgeons do not apply anesthesia to the brain tissue while operating, allowing patients to be awake and responsive during the procedure.
Headaches and other head-related pains are the brain’s interpretation, or misinterpretation, of the activation pattern of nociceptors in your head’s muscles and blood vessels and are not the brain itself.
3. You Do Use Most Of Your Brain
A common myth is that we only use up to 10% of our brain. However, researchers show that the majority of our brain is in use most of the time.
Even when a person is performing a very simple task, or even resting or sleeping, most of the brain is involved and active. The actual amount in use depends on the activity, the person, and what they are doing or thinking about.
4. Multitasking Is Impossible
There is no such thing as true “multitasking”. Rather, what you are doing is repeatedly switching between tasks.
This can decrease productivity by as much as 40%. The human brain has evolved to process a single task at a time and we lack the architecture to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.
5. Your Brain Is Mostly Made Up Of Fat
The brain is approximately 60% fat, 25% of which is cholesterol. We need fatty acids to stabilise the cell walls in the brain and help its ability to perform.
An imbalanced dietary intake of fatty acids has been clinically related to impaired brain performance and diseases. Brain signalling dependent on fatty acids can either promote neuronal injury or neuroprotection.
For this reason, it is important to include healthy sources of fat in your diet such as:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole eggs
- Extra virgin coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil
6. Your Brain Isn’t Fully Formed Until Age 25
Brain development starts at the back of the brain before making its way to the front. This means the frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and planning, are the last to completely form and strengthen.
7. Your Brain’s Storage Capacity May Be Unlimited
Research suggests the human brain is made up of over 80 billion neurons. Connections — known as synapses — are formed between neurons, meaning there could be up to 1 quadrillion connections in our brains!
With time, these neurons can combine and lead to increased storage capacity. In some cases, neurons may become damaged or stop working completely, leading to issues with memory.
8. Brain Information Travels Unbelievably Fast
Information in the brain travels at an unbelievable 268 miles per hour! When stimulated, a neuron generates an electrical impulse that can travel up to 268 miles per hour between cells!
9. Your Spinal Cord Stops Growing Around Age 4
On average, the spinal cord — a bundle of nervous tissue and support cells responsible for sending messages between your brain and body — stops growing around age 4.
10. The Brain Is Heavy
The human brain weighs about 3 pounds (about as much as half a gallon of milk). On average, men have larger brains than women, although size does not always correlate with increased intelligence.
11. Brain Freezes Aren’t What You Think
The scientific name for a brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglionneuralgia or cold neuralgia. A brain freeze occurs when cold hits receptors on the meninges, the material that encloses the brain and spinal cord.
The cold dilates and contracts the arteries, causing an almost immediate headache and painful sensation.
12. The Brain Can Generate Power
The human brain is capable of generating up to 23 watts of power — enough to power up a lightbulb! All that work means sleep is crucial to maintaining the pathways in your brain.
The brain is a truly astounding organ with many mysteries that remain to be discovered by scientists and researchers. Be sure to fuel your body with adequate nutrients to help keep it functioning at its best.
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