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Most Interesting Facts about the Human Brain

top-10-interesting-facts-about-the-human-brainThe human brain is made up of about 75% water and consists of about a hundred billion neurons.

The human brain is the fattest organ in the body that may consists of at least 60% fat. Amazingly, human skin weighs twice as much as human brain. While an elephant’s brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2% of total body weight (compared to 0.15% of an elephant’s brain), which means that humans have the largest brain to body size. Starting from within the womb, fetal brain development begins that leads to a well-developed brain at birth, which contains most of the brain cells for the whole life and continues to grow till age 18. A newborn human baby’s brain grows about three times its size in the first year. Left-handed people or ambidextrous have a corpus collosum, which is the part that bridges the two halves of the brain, is about 11% larger than right-handed people.

There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain. Information can be processed as slowly as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec (about 268 miles/hr). The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each day is 70,000. While awake, human brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power which could be enough energy to power a light bulb. It is thought that a yawn works to send more oxygen to the brain either to cool it down or wake it up. The human brain uses 20% of the total oxygen as well as uses 20% of the blood circulating in human body. If human brain loses blood for 8 to 10 seconds, a person will lose consciousness. The human brain can live for 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen, and then it begins to die. No oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes will result in permanent brain damage.

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The neocortex makes up about 76% of the human brain and is responsible for language and consciousness and it is much larger than in other animals. The cerebral cortex grows thicker as humans learn to use it. A stimulating environment for a child can make the difference between a 25% greater ability to learn and 25% less in an environment with little stimulation. Juggling has shown to change the brain in as little as seven days. Music lessons have shown to considerably boost brain organization and ability in both children and adults. Reading aloud and talking often to a young child promotes brain development. The study indicates that learning new things helps the human brain to change very quickly. Studies have shown that child abuse can damage development of the brain to the extent permanently affecting it. The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed. The first sense to develop while in utero is the sense of touch. The lips and cheeks can experience touch at about 8 weeks and the rest of the body around 12 weeks.

For years, medical professionals believed that tinnitus was due to a function within the mechanics of the ear, but newer evidence shows that it is actually a function of the human brain. The old adage of humans only using 10% of their brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function. Laughing at a joke is no simple task as it requires activity in five different areas of the human brain. Excessive stress has shown to “alter brain cells, brain structure and brain function.” Frequent jet lag can impair memory, probably due to the stress hormones released. Boredom is brought on by a lack of change of stimulation, is largely a function of perception, and is connected to the innate curiosity found in humans.

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Humans can’t tickle themselves because the brain distinguishes between unexpected external touch and a person’s own touch. Without any words, humans may be able to determine mood of a person just by reading the face. A small area in the brain called the amygdala is responsible for the ability to read someone else’s face for clues to how they are feeling. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain. Scientists have discovered that men and women’s brains react differently to pain, which explains why they may perceive or discuss pain differently. There is a class of people known as supertasters who not only have more taste buds on the tongue, but whose brain is more sensitive to the tastes of foods and drinks. In fact, they can detect some flavors that others cannot. Some people are much more sensitive to cold and actually feel pain associated with cold. Research has shown that the reason is due to certain channels that send cold information to the brain.

Memory is formed by associations, so to remember things one should create associations to recall. Memories triggered by scent have a stronger emotional connection that is why they appear more intense than other memory triggers. Anomia is the technical word for tip-of-the-tongue syndrome when you can almost remember a word, but it just won’t come out. During sleep at night memories from the whole day are consolidated and lack of sleep may actually hurt the ability to create new memories. Insulin works to regulate blood-sugar in the body, but recently, scientists have discovered that its presence in the brain also helps promote memory.

Most people dream about an hour or two at night and have an average of 4-7 dreams each night. Studies show that brain waves are more active while dreaming than when awake. Five minutes after a dream, half of the dream is forgotten. Ten minutes after a dream, over 90% is forgotten. If someone awakes during a dream, it is much more likely to remember the dream than if one slept until a full night’s sleep. Since dreams are more than just visual images, so blind people do dream. Whether or not they dream in pictures depends on if they were born blind or lost their vision later. Some people (about 12%) dream only in black and white while others dream in color. While asleep, human body produces a hormone that may prevent them from acting out their dreams, leaving them virtually paralyzed. If someone is snoring, they are not dreaming. Dreams almost never represent what they actually are as the unconscious mind strives to make connections with concepts one will understand, so dreams are largely symbolic representations. Caffeine works to block naturally occurring adenosine in the body, creating alertness. Scientists have recently discovered this connection and learned that doing the opposite, that is boosting adenosine can actually help promote more natural sleep patterns and help eliminate insomnia.

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Each time humans blink, their brain kicks in and keeps things illuminated so the whole world doesn’t go dark each time they blink, which is about 20,000 times a day.

A study of one million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14% better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives. A report described how people in a 7-year study who ate seafood at least once every week had a 30% lower occurrence of dementia.

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