Science Articles

The Incredible Human Brain

The human brain is the most fascinating piece of creation there is- breath-taking in its complexity, mesmerizing in its sophistication and riveting in its brilliance. Even while scientists have managed to unlock quite a few secrets of the vast and mysterious universe, yet, with all the advanced technologies at their disposal, they have not even begun to fathom the enigmatic depths of the human brain.

The human brain is the most fascinating piece of creation there is- breath-taking in its complexity, mesmerizing in its sophistication and riveting in its brilliance. Even while scientists have managed to unlock quite a few secrets of the vast and mysterious universe, yet, with all the advanced technologies at their disposal, they have not even begun to fathom the enigmatic depths of the human brain.

Is it any wonder then that the study of the human brain has been called the ‘last frontier in science’?

The human brain continues to confound, astound, stun and enthral the scientific community with its awe-inspiring abilities and structural magnificence. Every event, every happening of our lives is recorded in minute detail and stored away by the brain cells, to be retrieved for future reference.

While much has been discovered about the brain, there is so much we still don’t know about it. Scientists have yet to unravel the working of the intricate network of neurons and synapses that trigger millions of electrical and chemical signals, giving us such amazing things as perception, intelligence, sensitivity, imagination and creativity.

In honour of this most complex of entities known to man, let us ponder over these mind-blowing facts about the human brain-

  1. The typical brain is about 2% of a body’s weight but uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake.
  2. Half of your genes create the complex design of your brain while the other half create the organization of the other 98% of your body.
  3. There’s 2,500,000 gigabytes of storage space in your brain. Some scientists say that the brain’s capacity for storage is limitless and can expand to accommodate more information.
  4. There are between 86 billion to 100 billion interconnected neurons in the brain that send information to one another at speeds of up to 268 mph, making it the most powerful learning tool in the world. Each single neuron has about 1,000 to 10,000 connections with other neurons, making that up to 10 trillion neuron connections. Each neuron connects with around 40,000 synapses.
  5. A sand grain sized piece of brain tissue contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.
  6. More than 100,000 chemicals reactions take place in the brain every second.
  7. The brain is almost 75% water. Yet, only 2% dehydration can affect one’s memory, attentiveness and brain performance. That is also the reason why people often feel dizzy and light headed when they are dehydrated.
  8. The brain is the fattiest organ in the human body. Almost 60% of the brain is fat and 25% of the total cholesterol of your body resides within the brain. Cholesterol is an integral part of every brain cell. Without sufficient cholesterol, brain cells die. The brain synthesizes most of its own cholesterol.
  9. If the brain doesn’t get sufficient nutrition, brain cells begin to cannibalize neighbouring cells.
  10. A living brain is soft and squishy with a consistency similar to tofu. You could even cut it with a butter knife.
  11. In 2015, the 4th most powerful supercomputer in the world took 40 minutes to simulate just one second of human brain activity.
  12. The human brain is the only organ in the human body that lacks nerves despite it being the control centre for the central nervous system. Therefore, the human brain feels no pain.
  13. Over 140 proteins in the brain are negatively impacted by exposure to electromagnetic frequencies emitted by your cell phone and other electronic devices.
  14. New brain connections are created every time a new memory is formed.
  15. It’s a myth that the right brain and left brain work separately. Actually, they work together.
  16. Brain waves are more active while you are dreaming than when you are awake.
  17. Ambidextrous people have an 11% larger corpus callosum (the part of the brain that connects its two halves) than those who are single-handed.
  18. As you memorize more and more information, your brain grows in size.
  19. At the same time, continuous stress shrinks the size of the brain.
  20. There’s a “second brain” in your intestines! The intestines contain around 100,000 neurons. Gut bacteria manufacture over 30 neurotransmitters, including serotonin- the ‘happy molecule’.