5 facts about YOUR brain

 Put on your thinking cap and noodle on these five fascinating facts about your brain.

1.  It’s mostly water.

“As a whole, the human brain is composed of roughly 73% water. Most of the brain is made up of two kinds of tissue: gray matter and (myelinated) white matter. The gray matter is about 80% water, while the lipid-rich white matter has about 70% water content. Also, on average, the water content of a female brain’s gray matter is 1.2% higher than that of its male counterpart. Your brain’s high water content is among the many reasons it’s essential to drink enough water each day, and part of the reason dehydration impairs your focus, memory and mood.

2.  It has mirror neurons.

“Have you ever wondered why you recoil in almost-pain when you see someone else get hurt? This reaction is the result of mirror neurons. Discovered just over two decades ago, these neurons are active not only when you perform an action but also when you see someone else do the same thing. For example, the smell of something awful will activate specific brain regions; these same areas are similarly active when you witness someone else making a nauseated face. Mirror neurons explain why we empathize with others and how we learn by observing and mimicking.

3. It cannot feel pain.

“Your skin, muscles and other organs contain pain receptors called nociceptors that create the sensation we feel as pain. Ironically, while your brain is the organ that processes these pain signals, it does not have these receptors itself and thus lacks the ability to feel pain. This is why during brain surgeries, doctors don’t need to apply anesthesia directly to brain tissue. The patient can be awake (but sedated) throughout the procedure.”

4.  Some functions improve with age.

“Popular belief says it’s all downhill for your brain function as you add more candles to your cake. While it’s true age can diminish short-term memory and slow brain processing speed, the good news is research shows some skills actually improve as we get older. Language skills and emotional intelligence become stronger; older people have more extensive vocabularies and are more skilled conversationalists. Additionally, the ability to control negative emotions improves with age, contributing to a better general emotional stability.”

Letting Sunshine In by Peggy

5.  The brain cleans itself.

“Until recently experts believed the brain had no lymphatic system to drain out waste like the rest of the body does. But scientists have recently discovered these types of vessels hidden deep inside the brains of mice. Similar structures have been seen in autopsy samples of human brain tissue, but more study is needed to confirm exactly how this waste-removal function may work in our central nervous system. Researchers believe this finding could lead to better understanding of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis.”

“Although there are still many brain facts yet to be discovered, experts learn more each day about the structure and inner workings of the body’s most complex organ. This research not only helps scientists understand what makes us who we are, but could also lead to treatments for a variety of neurological disorders.”


Are you as bizarre as I think you are?

I know the difference between reality and imagination.

My vision is smooth and continuous.

I can tell the difference between my limbs and yours.

I consciously control my behavior.

Turns out I’m wrong and YOU are no different.  

“There are hundreds of surprising, perspective-shifting insights about the nature of reality that come from neuroscience. Every bizarre neurological syndrome, every visual illusion, and every clever psychological experiment reveals something entirely unexpected about our experience of the world that we take for granted. Here are a few to give a flavor:”

Famous illusion done by Meowie

1. Perceptual reality is entirely generated by our brain. “We hear voices and meaning from air pressure waves. We see colors and objects, yet our brain only receives signals about reflected photons. The objects we perceive are a construct of the brain, which is why optical illusions can fool the brain.”

2. We see the world in narrow disjointed fragments.  “We think we see the whole world, but we are looking through a narrow visual portal onto a small region of space. You have to move your eyes when you read because most of the page is blurry. We don’t see this, because as soon as we become curious about part of the world, our eyes move there to fill in the detail before we see it was missing. While our eyes are in motion, we should see a blank blur, but our brain edits this out.

3. Body image is dynamic and flexible. “Our brain can be fooled into thinking a rubber arm or a virtual reality hand is actually a part of our body. In one syndrome, people believe one of their limbs does not belong to them. One man thought a cadaver limb had been sewn onto his body as a practical joke by doctors.”

4. “Our behavior is mostly automatic, even though we think we are controlling it. The fact that we can operate a vehicle at 60 mph on the highway while lost in thought shows just how much behavior the brain can take care of on its own. Addiction is possible because so much of what we do is already automatic, including directing our goals and desires. In utilization behavior, people might grab and start using a comb presented to them without having any idea why they are doing it. In impulsivity, people act even though they know they shouldn’t.”

5. Our brain can fool itself in really strange ways. “In Capgras syndrome, familiar people seem foreign (the opposite of deja vu). One elderly woman who lived alone befriended a woman who appeared to her whenever she looked in a mirror. She thought this other woman looked nothing like herself, except that they seemed to have similar style and tended to wear identical outfits. Another woman was being followed by a tormenter who appeared to her in mirrors but looked nothing like herself. She was fine otherwise.”

6. Neurons are really slow. “Our thinking feels fast and we are more intelligent than computers, and yet neurons signal only a few times per second and the brain’s beta wave cycles at 14-30 times per second. In comparison, computers cycle at 1 billion operations per second, and transistors switch over 10 billion times per second. How can neurons be so slow and yet we are so smart?”

7. Consciousness can be subdivided. “In split-brain patients, each side of the brain is individually conscious but mostly separate from the other. In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memories of a traumatic event can become a compartmentalized inaccessible island. In schizophrenia, patients hear voices that can seem separate from themselves and which criticize them or issue commands. In hypnosis, post-hypnotic suggestions can direct behavior without the individual’s conscious awareness“.




Pawsitively Tuesday – Your Brain

Just three weeks after conception, the embryonic brain generates a quarter of a million neurons every minute.

About 20% of the body’s energy is channelled to the brain, yet it remains staggeringly efficient, consuming less energy than a filament light bulb.

The human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-twenties – much later than experts once thought.

The internal clock that controls sleepiness runs up to three hours ‘late’ in teenagers, although scientists aren’t quite sure why.

Even into old age neurons are still building new connections and circuits, maintaining our ability to adapt and learn.