CRAZY Facts about the Brain!

Crazy facts about the brain

Ever wondered about our amazing brain? Here are some fun facts to ponder!

  • The adult brain weighs about 1.4 kg and is made up of about 60% fat. It has a high water content as well, meaning that dehydration can be detrimental (e.g. a hangover after drinking is generally due to dehydration).
  • The brain will grow three times its size in the first year of life and it continues to grow until about 18 years of age.
  • The brain of a human contains approximately one hundred billion neurons
  • It is a myth that humans only use 10 percent of our brain – we use all of our brain and even use more than 10% when we sleep.
  • Your brain uses 20 percent of the oxygen and blood in your body.
  • Your brain has about 100 billion neurons – about as many stars as in the Milky Way galaxy!
  • Dreams are believed to be a combination of imagination, psychological factors, and neurological factors. They prove that your brain is working even when you are sleeping.
  • Information runs between neurons in your brain for everything we see, think, or do. These neurons move information at different speeds. The fastest speed for information to pass between neurons is about 400 kph!
  • Headaches are caused by a chemical reaction in your brain combined with the muscles and nerves of your neck and head.
  • “Doctors” were performing brain surgery as far back as the Stone Age.
  • The brain can’t feel pain. It interprets pain signals sent to it, but it does not feel pain.
  • Phantom limb pain syndrome is when the nervous system, which includes the brain, continues to “feel” the pain of a limb that has been amputated.
  • A brain freeze is really a sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (try saying that three times fast!). It happens when something you eat or drink something cold. It chills the blood vessels and arteries in the very back of the throat, including the ones that take blood to your brain, making them constrict and sending pain signals to the brain (usually the forehead).
  • The brain begins to lose some memory abilities as well as some cognitive skills by the late 20s.
  • Also, the brain gets smaller as we get older, usually starting to shrink sometime after middle age.
  • Computer or video games might help improve cognitive abilities, but it is not yet clear how much they help or what types of games help.
  • However, brains continue to produce new neurons throughout our lifespan, enabling us to learn and adapt. This process is called neurogenesis, and it only occurs in certain parts of the brain.
  • The brain is divided into two almost symmetrical (but not identical) hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum (a nerve bundle). But left or right-brain dominance is a myth – while some brain areas are used more than others for particular functions, and these can be on the left or right side, neither side of the brain is used more than the other.
  • In fact, the brain is “cross-wired”. The left side controls muscles on your body’s right side. The right side of your brain is responsible for controlling the muscles of your left side. Don’t worry – the brain has it all figured out.
  • Your brain is hyper-efficient, running on just 20 watts of power. The human brain is far better than the best computer ever created. It can handle a lot of information every second and process it all faster than a computer. And that means A LOT of information—up to 10 to the 16th power every second.
  • All your thinking, deciding, and processing drains about 20 percent of the total energy, oxygen, and blood in your body.
  • Everyone’s brain is unique. Our experiences wire our brains differently and that wiring continues to develop as we learn and experience more.
  • The brain always has a focus on survival as the first priority. That means your brain constantly makes decisions about safety and solves problems to keep you safe. In today’s world, our “flight or fight safety system” can trick the brain into anxiety and cause stress.
  • The whole brain doesn’t really sleep. Whilst we are asleep, our brain is active, processing memories and dreaming. Dreams are thought to be a function of imagination, psychology, and neurology mixed together to create a perception of a fantastical environment or adventure.
  • Some people experience conditions called “synesthesia”: this is when your senses converge to layer a perception on one sense, for example, some people see colours when they hear music.
  • The brain’s ability to perceive the world and generate thoughts is amazing! But memory is just as amazing. It is estimated your brain can store 2,500,000 gigabytes of information.
  • You have two basic types of memory: long-term memory and short-term memory (or working memory). Short-term memory remembers information long enough for you to use it (e.g. a phone number). Your brain then discards what it doesn’t need to retain from the short-term memory.
  • Dredging up long-term memories is a bit like pulling a file from a folder. The brain recreates and imagines the memory, but it is not a perfect copy of the original. Ever had the memory of something you saw as a child which was perhaps much smaller when you returned as an adult?
  • Eyewitness accounts of criminal suspects is usually only about 50% because it is difficult for your brain to remember the details of someone who is not familiar to you. Traumatic events can also affect the brains ability to remember details.
  • Sleep is important to your brain. A lack of sleep impacts information processing, attention, memory, mood, and logic. Consistently poor sleep also negatively impacts upon anxiety and mood.
  • Exercise is great for brain health and cognition. 
  • The brain does not like stress!  It can deal with short-term stresses (remember it’s priority is survival). But long term stress is detrimental for cognition and can mean that making decisions is difficult.
  • Lastly, when preserving bodies, Egyptians would usually remove the brains through the nose. Ewww!
Dabbing cartoon mummy | Premium Vector

Sources: Healthline, Ask The Scientists, Queensland Brain Institute

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Sharon Connell

Sharon Connell

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