Much like the deepest parts of the ocean, our lovely brain is one of those mysterious organs we have yet to fully understand.
Truth be told, we continuously discover new details about our entire bodies, but the brain. As the headquarters of all the creative energy, the root of all movement, and the center of our curiosity remains the most intriguing aspect of our existence.
Our brain enables us to be physically active, but it also thrives on exercise, making your workout one of the best ways to keep your mind young as much as the rest of your body.
A staggering amount of what you eat and drink affects your brainpower as well, and everything you do shapes not only the outcome. But the process in which your thought patterns occur. How well you sleep can either help or hinder your brain functions and productivity on a profound level.
Your emotions are produced and stored in this little portion of your body, and they reshape your very existence. All in all, for a single organ, the brain has quite the capacity to dazzle us with its seemingly infinite abilities.
So, to feed our curiosity a little more, let’s take a glance at the 10 most curious facts about the brain!
1. We keep discovering new brain regions
As well as new functions the old regions can perform, so we are in constant search of new abilities of this one organ. For example, 2018 was marked by several notable discoveries regarding our brain, but one stands out as perhaps the most exciting one – neuroscientist George Paxinos and his team have discovered a new brain region at the base of the brain.
Since the discovery is fairly young, we only have speculations as to its primary functions.
Researchers assume that it is connected to motor control and performing fine movements not present or yet discovered in other mammals.
2. It requires 20% of your energy
For the sake of comparison, remember that your brain weighs approximately 2% of your body weight, which may seem like an insignificant portion.
However, despite its miniscule size compared to the rest of your physical existence. It requires about 20% of your oxygen intake as well as the energy you produce from the food you consume.
So, the next time you think that all of those calories go straight to your belly or thighs, think again. Your brain requires plenty of nutrients for all of that thinking, imagining, and focus you need every day.
3. Brain surgery with no anesthesia
While not all surgical procedures are created equal, certain surgical endeavors on the brain can be performed with their subjects fully awake. In fact, just last year, a patient was asked to play the guitar while his doctors removed a tumor from his brain.
This is not the only example of such procedures, as another man played the saxophone, and an opera singer sang during the operation, too. So, yes, the awake craniotomy is not a sci-fi story, but a plausible surgery method!
4. The brain has no pain receptors
It’s one of the reasons open-brain surgery is possible without anesthesia, but the brain is still crucial in processing pain throughout your body.
In fact, many a neurosurgeon such as Timothy Steel provides educational videos on this very topic. Where you can learn that your brain is just one segment of your central nervous system, and it communicates with numerous nerves expanding through your body.
So, in case of a compressed nerve in your spine, your spinal cord and your brain work together to process and register the pain.
Which then helps your doctors find the source of the pain and perform the necessary procedure to solve the issue.
5. It’s made of over 70% water
We have all heard the fact that we as creatures are predominantly made of this famous liquid substance. However, your brain specifically is over 70% water, which means that even the mildest forms of dehydration can damage your ability to stay productive and focused.
Plus, your brain needs water to produce hormones, and use up the many nutrients you consume through food in order to function properly.
6. Stress can shrink your brain
So much has already been said about how stress negatively affects our lives, from wreaking havoc on our mood, wrecking our sleep patterns, all the way to damaging our heart health.
Surprisingly, stress also has the ability to damage your brain, even on a physical level, which in turn affects its ability to function.
Since it can affect its structure, stress alters your ability to form memories, as well as your learning process, all the way to decision-making.
7. You can never really multitask
Although some still swear by their ability to have a meaningful conversation with a friend while they text and respond to an email, the myth of multitasking has been busted several times over.
Research has shown that once you present several problems or tasks for our brains to deal with, the brain literally “splits” its power into two parts, switching back and forth to solve them.
So, technically, your brain can never fully devote its attention to more than one task at a time, and frequent switching doesn’t help with productivity.
8. Your mind is a galaxy
No, you don’t have the same number of neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy, but since both numbers are staggering, the comparison is still fitting, although exaggerated.
The galaxy has anywhere between 200 and 400 billion stars, while your brain has about 86 billion neurons. Still impressive, right?
Keeping in mind that this is not an exact number, which means that some lucky folk out there have more, and that neurons come in different sizes. You can imagine that your neural network would span across 600 miles, more or less.
9. Your brain never sleeps
Although we’ve already established that sleep is essential for the health and proper functioning of your brain, it never really shuts down, not even during the night.
In fact, your brain uses your sleep hours to dream, to process daytime emotions and experiences. Flush out metabolic waste from your brain, and a number of other known and unknown processes that are vital to our wellbeing.
And yes, we use more than 10% of our brain even in our sleep, let alone when we’re awake, so this is another myth we can put to rest.
10. Your brain loves music
While some would argue that not all auditory creative endeavors can be classified as music, your brain sure appreciates the stimulation. For example, listening to music can reduce cortisol levels, and thus protect your brain from the damaging effects of stress.
Even more power lies in playing a musical instrument, as playing music involves so many fine brain actions that it leads to a better-connected brain, which in turn helps protect your brain health.
While you can use many techniques to boost your cognitive capabilities, knowing your own brain can help you implement more brain-healthy habits into your day.
We still have so much to learn about this wonderful organ, so stay in the loop with the latest scientific discoveries and use them to fuel your own healthy habits!