Crystal brain cell
If you’re preparing for a quiz show and need to brush up on your knowledge of the human brain – or if you just have a love of learning – look no further, because we’ve gathered up a list of some of the best brain facts on the planet. Amongst other things, you’ll learn why babies’ heads are so darned big, why a healthy lunch is good for your body and your brain, why happy thoughts will keep the doctor away and why your lover’s cologne makes your heart skip a beat.
Check out our list, and if you’ve got more cool and interesting facts to add, please leave a comment!
Fast Brain Facts
- 3 = the weight of your brain in pounds
- 4 to 6 = the number of minutes your brain can survive without oxygen before it starts to die
- 8 to 10 = the number of seconds you have before losing consciousness due to blood loss
- 10 to 23 = the number of watts of power your grain generates when you’re awake (that’s enough to turn on a light bulb!)
- 20 = the percentages of oxygen and blood flow going to the brain
- 100,000 = the number of miles of blood vessels in your brain
- 1,000 to 10,000 = the number of synapses for each neuron in your brain
- 100 billion = the number of neurons in your brain
Image: Michael Heilemann
- Each person has about the same number of brain cells at birth as in adulthood, but those cells grow, reaching maximum size at about age six.
- A newborn’s brain triples its size in the first year of life (no wonder babies have such big heads!).
- The sense of touch is the first sense to develop in a fetus, with the lips and cheeks experiencing this sensation at eight weeks.
- Keep exercising your brain, because mental activity stimulates the creation of new neurons throughout your whole life.
An Apple a Day
- Think positive because when you do, you’ll keep the doctor away: Studies show that 50-70% of visits to the doctor for physical ailments can be traced to psychological reasons.
- Eat well, and it’ll have positive effects on your brain, because a study of one million New York students showed that those who ate lunches without additives such as artificial flavours, preservatives and dyes performed 14% better in IQ tests.
- That being said, your brain is the most fatty organ in your body!
The Memory Game
- New connections are created each and every time you remember something or have a new thought.
- Stronger, more intense emotional connections are linked to memories prompted by scent.
- Memories triggered by scent (like cologne) have a stronger emotional connection, and therefore appear more intense than other memory triggers.
- Cherish your sleep because that’s probably the best time for your brain to file away all the memories of the day.
Things That Make You Go “Hmmm…”
- It’s not your brain that’s hurting when you get a headache – without pain receptors, your brain can’t feel any pain.
- Your brain knows when you tickle yourself, which is why you don’t bend over laughing.
- Supertasters have a super power that enables them to sometimes taste flavours that others can’t detect; they have more taste buds and a brain that’s more sensitive to tastes of foods and drinks.
- When you sleep, you’re virtually paralyzed because your brain creates a hormone to prevent you from acting out your dreams.
- About 12% of people dream in black and white.
- It’s not true that humans only use 10% of their brains; each part of the brain has a purpose.
(This article has been taken from http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/. This is not the original work of the owner.
Scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara have discovered how the brain encodes memories.
According to researchers, the finding could eventually lead to the development of new drugs for diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The researchers have uncovered a central process in encoding memories that occurs at the level of the synapse, where neurons connect with each other.
“When we learn new things, when we store memories, there are a number of things that have to happen,” said senior author Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB”s Neuroscience Research Institute.
“One of the most important processes is that the synapses — which cement those memories into place — have to be strengthened.
“In strengthening a synapse you build a connection, and certain synapses are encoding a memory. Those synapses have to be strengthened so that memory is in place and stays there. Strengthening synapses is a very important part of learning. What we have found appears to be one part of how that happens,” Kosik added.
Part of strengthening a synapse involves making new proteins. Those proteins build the synapse and make it stronger. Just like with exercise, when new proteins must build up muscle mass, synapses must also make more protein when recording memories. In this research, the regulation and control of that process was uncovered.
The production of new proteins can only occur when the RNA that will make the required proteins is turned on. Until then, the RNA is “locked up” by a silencing molecule, which is a micro RNA. The RNA and micro RNA are part of a package that includes several other proteins.
“When something comes into your brain — a thought, some sort of stimulus, you see something interesting, you hear some music — synapses get activated,” said Kosik.
The expert added: “What happens next is really interesting, but to follow the pathway our experiments moved to cultured neurons. When synapses got activated, one of the proteins wrapped around that silencing complex gets degraded.”
When the signal comes in, the wrapping protein degrades or gets fragmented. Then the RNA is suddenly free to synthesize a new protein.
“One reason why this is interesting is that scientists have been perplexed for some time as to why, when synapses are strengthened, you need to have proteins degrade and also make new proteins,” said Kosik.
“You have the degradation of proteins going on side by side with the synthesis of new proteins. So we have now resolved this paradox. We show that protein degradation and synthesis go hand in hand. The degradation permits the synthesis to occur. That”s the elegant scientific finding that comes out of this,” Kosik added.
The scientists were able to see some of the specific proteins that are involved in synthesis.
One of the approaches used by the scientists in the experiment was to take live neuron cells from rats and look at them under a high-resolution microscope. The team was able to see the synapses and the places where proteins are being made.
The study has been published in the December 24 issue of the journal Neuron.