Amazing Facts » Amazing Facts About The Human Brain
Amazing Facts About The Human Brain
Top amazing facts about the human brain that are just mind-blowing! Our brain is a huge energy-guzzler, gobbling up 20% of the body’s energy supply, though weighing just 2% of the total body weight. Dive in for more fantastic facts about the human brain.
1. Did you know that you can power a low-wattage LED light with the electricity generated by your brain activity? Cool, isn’t it? Each brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity.
2. Have you ever wondered why we cannot stick to a diet plan? Especially the low-fat variety? Well, when we don’t eat, hunger-inducing neurons in the brain begin to eat bits of themselves! This ‘self-eating’ (the scientific term is ‘autophagy’) induces the hunger signal to prompting us to eat. And we happily oblige! So it is true to say that brain cells cannibalize themselves to ward off starvation. Thus, beware of extreme dieting! You may be losing your brain cells along with body mass.
3. Ever wondered why brain surgery can be performed with the patient awake without any pain or discomfort? The sensation of pain is processed in the brain, the brain itself does not have any pain receptors, and hence cannot feel pain. Awesome, isn’t it? In fact, in some cases, the patient is kept awake like the case of Andrew Lydiard, 58, whose constant chatter about a safari trip in Tanzania reassured the doctors that they were not touching any of the healthy parts of the brain, while removing his tumor.
4. Cholesterol is bad, agree? But it looks like your brain would disagree. As high as 25% or the body’s cholesterol is part of the brain. Without this cholesterol, brain cells will die. It is an antioxidant, and doubles up as the raw material from which progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, testosterone and even vitamin D are made. However, the brain makes its own cholesterol, so low blood cholesterol does not cause low brain cholesterol.
5. Ever compared your brain to the most powerful computers in the world? It is quite humbling. According to the latest research, the brain’s memory capacity is a quadrillion, or 10151015, bytes. Did you know that it is the same amount needed to store the entire internet! It is also worth noting that the human brain is capable of 1,016 processes per second, and that makes it far more powerful than any computer existing today. Even Japan’s K computer, one of the most powerful computers in the world, it took 40 minutes to crunch the data equivalent to just one second of brain activity!
6. With so much power in the brain, what happens when something goes wrong? Strange and sadly spectacular disorders are the result when such a complex system breaks down. For starters, there is the exploding head syndrome disorder. People affected with this disorder hear phantom explosions in their head! Then there is the Capgras syndrome which is the persistent thinking that one’s loved ones have been substituted by impostors, robots or aliens. Another equally bizarre disorder is the Cotard’s syndrome which makes one believe that he or she is dead.
7. The brain in your head isn’t your only brain. There’s a “second brain” in your intestines that contains 100 million neurons. Gut bacteria are responsible for making over 30 neurotransmitters including the “happy molecule” serotonin. When you learn about this gut-brain connection, do you suddenly make sense of the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach when you feel anxious? Well, it is actually a neurological response from your brain, into your second brain, which is the gut.
8. This brain fact might prove a bit scary to you. According to paleontological research, human brain has been shrinking through history. There is skeletal evidence from every continent that corroborates this theory. Some scientists believe that this is because the average body size of humans has shrunk in size over the last 10,000 years. Since a smaller body requires only a smaller nervous system, as our bodies grew smaller, our brains also shrank, according to Donald Krieff, DO, a board-certified neurosurgeon.
9. What does your brain do when you are asleep? Actually, it is doing more work that when you are awake. Trillions of nerve cells in the brain are rewiring themselves during sleep, and this is how human beings are able to process and retain new information that we may have learnt during the day.
10. Last but not the least, one piece of good news! Your brain does not stop growing, in the sense that new neurons are always being made. This process is known as neurogenesis. So, if you want to learn to play the piano at age 60, go ahead! New neurons will definitely be born!