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15 January 2020
The human brain is one of the most important organs in a human body. It helps us think, reason, remember, and learn new things. In fact, our brain and its superior functioning differentiate from animals and other creations here on earth!
There are 40 interesting facts about the Human Brain! There are a lot of myths and misinformation about the brain that pass as brain “facts.” This is somewhat understandable: The study of the human brain is one of the least explored areas in science and even experts agree that there is more we don’t know about the brain than we currently do know. In recent years, our knowledge of the brain has exploded — most of what we know about the brain has been discovered in just the last 15 years!
1. The typical brain comprises about 2% of the body’s total weight, but uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake.
2. Your brain is 73% water. It takes only 2% dehydration to affect your attention, memory and other cognitive skills.
3. Ninety minutes of sweating can temporarily shrink the brain as much as one year of aging does.
4. Your brain weighs about three pounds. Sixty percent of the dry weight is fat, making the brain the most fatty organ in the body.
5. Twenty-five percent of the body’s cholesterol resides within the brain. Cholesterol is an integral part of every brain cell. Without adequate cholesterol, brain cells die.
6. No one knows for sure, but the latest estimate is that our brains contain roughly 86 billion brain cells.
7. Each neuron can transmit 1,000 nerve impulses per second and make as many as tens of thousands of synaptic contacts with other neurons.
8. A piece of brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses, all communicating with each other.
9. All brain cells are not alike. There are as many as 10,000 specific types of neurons in the brain.
10. Your brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. As little as five minutes without oxygen can cause some brain cells to die, leading to severe brain damage.
11. Babies have big heads to hold rapidly growing brains. A 2-year-old’s brain is 80% of adult size.
12. As any parent can attest, teenage brains are not fully formed. It isn’t until about the age of 25 that the human brain reaches full maturity.
13. Brain information travels up to an impressive 268 miles per hour. This is faster than Formula 1 race cars which top out at 240 mph.
14. Your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity. This is enough to power a low-wattage LED light.
15. There’s a reason the brain has been called a “random thought generator.” The average brain is believed to generate up to 50,000 thoughts per day.
16. Every minute, 750-1,000 milliliters of blood flows through the brain. This is enough to fill a bottle of wine or liter bottle of soda.
17. Your brain can process an image that your eyes have seen for as little as 13 milliseconds — less time than it takes for you to blink.Fun Facts About Brain Size-Size matters with some things, but with the brain, bigger doesn’t always mean better or smarter!18. In general, men’s brains are 10% bigger than women’s, even after taking into account larger body size. However, the hippocampus, the part of the brain most strongly linked with memory, is typically larger in women!
19. Albert Einstein’s brain weighed 2.71 pounds (1,230 grams) — 10% smaller than the average of 3 pounds (1,400 grams). However, the neuron density of his brain was greater than average.
20. Neanderthal brains were 10% larger than our Homo sapiens brains.
21. While humans have the largest brains proportional to body weight of all animals, we don’t have the biggest brains. That distinction belongs to sperm whales with 17-pound brains.
22. Human brains have gotten significantly smaller over the past 10-20,000 years. The lost volume is equivalent to the size of a tennis ball.
23. The hippocampus, the part of the brain considered the “memory center,” is significantly larger in London cab drivers. This is due to the mental workout they get while navigating the 25,000 streets of London.
24. Chronic stress and depression are rampant in modern life. Either can cause measurable brain shrinkage.
25. The modern diet is low in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3s result in brain shrinkage equivalent to two years of structural brain aging.
26. Since the Victorian era, average IQs have gone down 1.6 points per decade for a total of 13.35 points.
27. Technology has forced most of us to be prodigious multitaskers. But your brain can’t learn or concentrate on two things at once. What it can do is quickly toggle back and forth between tasks. But doing so decreases your attention span and the ability to learn.
28. Unexpectedly, millennials (aged 18 to 34) are more forgetful than baby boomers. They are more likely to forget what day it is or where they put their keys than their parents!
29. Attention spans are getting shorter. In 2000, the average attention span was 12 seconds. Now, it’s 8 seconds. That’s shorter than the 9-second attention span of the average goldfish.
30. Brain cells cannibalize themselves as a last ditch source of energy to ward off starvation. So, in very real ways, dieting, especially low-fat diets, can force your brain to eat itself.
31. Over 140 proteins in the brain are negatively impacted by exposure to electromagnetic frequencies, the kind emitted by your cell phone and other electronic devices.
32. Relying on GPS to navigate destroys your innate sense of direction, a skill that took our ancestors thousands of years to develop and hone. When areas of the brain involved in navigation are no longer used, those neural connections fade away via a process known as synaptic pruning.
33. The popular myth that we use only 10% of our brains is flat-out wrong. Brain scans clearly show that we use most of our brain most of the time, even when we’re sleeping.
34. There is no such thing as a left-brain or right-brain personality/skill type. We are not left-brained or right-brained; we are “whole-brained.”
35. In spite of what you’ve been told, alcohol does not kill brain cells. What excessive alcohol consumption can do is damage the connective tissue at the end of neurons.
36. The “Mozart effect” has been debunked. While listening to certain kinds of music can improve memory and concentration, there’s nothing unique about listening to Mozart.
37. You may have heard that we have more brain cells than there are stars in the Milky Way, but this is not true. Best-guess estimates are that we have 86 billion neurons while there are 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way.
38. It’s often said that there are 10,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain when, actually, that number is closer to 400 miles. Still, a substantial amount!
39. Contrary to the prevailing medical belief, having high total cholesterol is not bad for your brain. (See #5) In fact, high cholesterol actually reduces your risk of dementia.
40. Until recently, it was a “fact” that you were born with a set level of intelligence and number of brain cells. But it has since been discovered that your brain has the capacity to change throughout your lifetime due to a property known as brain plasticity. The brain can continue to form new brain cells via a process known as neurogenesis.