The brain has always been the most intriguing and complex thing to exist in the universe. It creates consciousness and memories; enables us to think, create, learn and feel emotions; and controls our bodily functions.
Science has made great strides in understanding how the brain works, but there is still so much we don’t know about this incredible control centre.
Your brain feels no pain
Even though your brain is the main tool the body uses to detect and react to pain, the brain has no pain receptors itself. This is why surgeons perform brain surgery on patients who are awake. This helps them avoid damaging critical areas of the brain.
So how do you feel headaches? When people experience headaches, the pain is a result of pressure on the blood vessels or nerve tissues surrounding the brain, not the brain itself.
When you’re awake, your brain creates enough electricity to power a low-wattage lightbulb
The brain contains around 90 billion neurons. Your brain’s activity never stops, and while a single neuron generates only a small amount of electricity, all the neurons together can generate enough electricity to power a lightbulb.
Here are a few facts derived from the latest research that give us a glimpse into one of the most enduring mysteries.
Your brain is more powerful than a supercomputer
If the human brain were a computer, it could perform 38 thousand trillion operations per second and hold about 3,584 terabytes of memory. One of the world’s most powerful computers— IBM’s BlueGene supercomputer has a computational ability of 92 trillion operations per second and 8 terabytes of storage.
The left brain/right brain divide is a myth
It’s not true that logical and analytical people are left-brain dominant, while creative and artistic people are right-brain dominant. We require connections among all the regions of the brain to function.
Neurons transmit information to your brain at more than 241 kmph
You touch a hot object. The sensory neurons present in your skin transmit this information to your brain and spinal cord at a speed of over 241 kilometres per hour.
When the message is received, your brain transmits the message back, using motor neurons, through your spinal cord and to your hand to take it off the hot object. Motor neurons transmit this information at the speed of more than 322 kilometres per hour.
When you learn something new, the structure of your brain changes
When you learn and practise an activity like swimming or riding a bike, your brain transmits messages along specific neuron pathways repeatedly, creating new connections. Your brain structure changes every time you learn or have a new thought or memory.
Five to 10 minutes of oxygen deprivation results in permanent brain damage
After five to ten minutes of oxygen deprivation, you are likely to suffer serious and possibly irreversible brain damage. Permanent brain damage occurs after four minutes of not breathing, since your brain cells begin to die. After 15 minutes of oxygen deprivation, survival is virtually impossible.
The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat
You brain is the fattiest system in your body. Fatty acids determine your brain’s ability to perform. For optimum performance, you need to maintain these fat levels or you could risk neurological disorders.