Explore Your Brain

November 12, 2012

Explore Your Brain

We all have a brain which can outthink any computer; it can take inputs through many routes – audio, tactile, vision, smell or a mix of any of these. And it can cause a multitude of actions to occur depending on the inputs. There are computers who are better at one repetitive routine but how many do you know of that can move to the next job so easily, cross a road itself or communicate with different beings?

The brain has developed since man evolved on the planet. Originally it could only function with simple tools but today’s average human can understand so much more and use complex tools and apparatus. This takes an enormous amount of brain power. But before anyone tries to tell you how much, we have a problem. No one has actually been able to come up with a comprehensive way to measure the capacity of a brain.

However some of the facts that we do know are that impulses from the nerves to the brain can travel in excess of 270 km per hour. This is one aspect that has been quite well researched, hence why thinking time is added to any scenario when a car driver is trying to stop the vehicle. Always add the time it takes for the eyes to see and then pass the messages to the brain which then processes the information before causing the pressure to be applied to the brake. And we do it without thinking consciously!

It has also been calculated that the brain is a super low power piece of kit. It produces about 10 watts of power, even when we are doing nothing or sleeping. That would light up a small bulb or give you a pretty bright LED torch.

When it comes to memory the facts become open to discussion. We as a human race have yet to come to an agreed definitive way to calculate memory, but most people do agree that it’s big. Some people think that the brain is big enough to hold all of the facts in an encyclopedia and quote ‘facts’ like a brain can match 1,000 terabytes of memory. However this does not do justice to the brain. How many computers can store smells, graphics, text, maps and video and understand how to use the knowledge that is held.

The fuel used to drive the brain is oxygen and although the brain is normally only about 2% of the mass of a body it consumes about 20% of the oxygen we breathe in. The brain is the biggest consumer of oxygen in our body, perhaps because it is the most complex.

Scientists have decided that people with more intelligence are also more likely to be a dreamer. This may well be why the brain is at its most dynamic during the dark hours. It might run contrary to our perception of common sense where we think that the brain is working hard all day to move around, seeing and hearing in addition to all of the calculations required for us to function normally, so at night it rests. Yet scientists have found that at night when the rest of our body is resting is the time the brain is buzzing. As with most things about the brain, we don’t know why but some researchers suggest that although we cannot remember them all, we dream almost constantly every night.

Another fact about the brain, which is true of many parts of our bodies, is that it is made mainly from water. About 80% of the pink soft brain tissue is water, this is why dehydration affects the thinking processes so readily.

Neurons within the brain are used for transmitting data around the different areas and sides of the brain and for a long time were thought to be incapable of growth or regeneration. However scientists have since recognized that the opposite is true. Although the growth and regeneration process of neurons differs from other parts of the body. The speed of a neuron at work depends what the information is that is being transmitted. Some data travels as slowly as 0.5 meters per second whilst others can travel as fast as 120 meters per second.

Strangely enough the brain, which is the generator of all of our pain because of pain receptors in the body registering with it, cannot feel pain itself. There are no pain receptors in the brain, but knowing this will not stop you getting a headache because of the skin, bone and tissue surrounding the brain all have pain receptors.

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