Keep The Brain Active
The more a person uses their brain, the better their mental functions become. For this reason, brain training exercises are a good way to maintain overall brain health.
A recent study conducted over 10 years found that people who used brain training exercises reduced the risk of dementia by 29 percent.
The most effective training focused on increasing the brains speed and ability to process complex information quickly.
There are a number of other popular myths about the brain. These are discussed and dispelled below.
The Human Brain As A Special Brain
What makes us human? Is our brain, the only one known to study other brains, special in any way? According to a recent popular account of what makes us unique, we have brains that are bigger than expected for an ape, we have a neocortex that is three times bigger than predicted for our body size, we have some areas of the neocortex and the cerebellum that are larger than expected, we have more white matter and the list goes on . Most specialists seem to agree . Since ours is obviously not the largest brain on Earth, our superior cognitive abilities cannot be accounted for by something as simple as brain size, the most readily measurable parameter regarding the brain. Emphasis is thus placed on an exceptionality that is, curiously, not brain-centered, but rather body-centered: With a smaller body but a larger brain than great apes, the human species deviates from the relationship between body and brain size that applies to other primates, great apes included, boasting a brain that is 57× too large for its body size . Recent efforts to support this uniqueness have focused on finding genetic differences between humans and other primates , as well as cellular particularities such as the presence and distribution of Von Economo neurons .
Headaches Are Caused By A Chemical Reaction
Chemical activity in your brain, the nerves or blood vessels surrounding your skull, or the muscles of your head and neck can play a role in primary headaches. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a headache or migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
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The Human Brain Contains Approximately One Hundred Billion Neurons
This is about the same as the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. These neurons are connected by trillions of connections, or synapses. Experts call this a neuron forest. Information runs between these neurons in your brain for everything we see, think, or do. These neurons move information at different speeds. The fastest speed for information to pass between neurons is about 250 mph. That being said, neurons only make up 10% of the brain.
Variations In The Ratio Of Bacteria To Human Cells Across Population Segments
After reviewing the B/H ratio for the reference man, we now generalize our results by addressing other segments of the population. Looking at our estimate, we identify four main parameters that dominate the calculation:
bacterial density in the colon
These are the governing parameters due to the dominating contribution of the colonic bacteria and RBC count to the total bacterial and human cell counts, respectively. In order to evaluate the effect of gender, age, and obesity on the B/H ratio, we examine the change in these parameters across those groups.
collects the changes to each of the previously mentioned parameters for individuals that represent different segments of the human population: reference adult woman , young infant , infant , elder , and obese .
We note that additional factors such as race and ethnicity may influence the B:H ratio. It has been shown that the bacterial population in the colon is strongly affected by geography , but current data is not enough to allow robust inference for the colonic concentrations and represents a data gap.
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How Many Bacterial Cells Are In The Human Body
You may have read that bacterial cells in the human body outnumber human cells 10 to 1. The primary source for that ratio dates back to the 1970s, when American microbiologists used a series of assumptions to calculate the number of bacteria inside the intestinal tract.
The 10:1 ratio has since been disproven.
New data show that the number of bacterial cells inside a human body is around 38 trillion. This turns out to be much closer to the estimated 30 trillion human cells in the body.
So, while there are likely more bacterial cells than human cells in your body at any given time, the difference isnt as great as previously thought.
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Alcohol And The Brain
Long-term alcoholism can lead to a number of health problems, including brain damage.
It is not, however, as simple as saying that drinking alcohol kills brain cells this is a myth. The reasons for this are complicated.
If a woman drinks too much alcohol while pregnant, it can affect the brain development of the fetus, and even cause fetal alcohol syndrome.
The brains of babies with this condition may be smaller and often contain fewer brain cells. This may lead to difficulties with learning and behavior.
How Many Cells Are In The Human Body
An average person is estimated to contain roughly 30 trillion human cells, according to recent research.
This is, of course, a rough approximation. Its extraordinarily complicated to count human cells. Its not as simple as figuring out the size or weight of a single cell and making an estimate based on the volume of the human body.
Each of the 200 different types of cells in the human body has a different weight and size. Within the body, some cells are packed more densely, while others are more spread out.
Cells are constantly dying, and new ones are being made simultaneously. On top of that, the actual number of cells will vary from person to person, depending on their age, height, weight, health, and environmental factors.
The best we can do is find an estimate based on an average person. A recent study used a man between 20 and 30 years of age, weighing 70 kilograms and measuring 170 centimeters in height, as a reference.
In the study, researchers went through each cell type and used a variety of tedious methods to estimate the number of each type. They used the most up-to-date information available to make a detailed list of volumes and densities in every organ of the body. Once they arrived at an estimate of all the different cell types, they added them all together. The number they arrived at was 30 trillion.
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Is Brain Size Linked To Intelligence
Overall brain size doesn’t correlate with level of intelligence for non-human animals. For instance, the brain of a sperm whale is more than five times heavier than the human brain, but humans are considered to be of higher intelligence than sperm whales. A more accurate measure of an animal’s likely intelligence is the ratio between the size of the brain and body size, although not even that measure puts humans in first place: The tree shrew has the highest brain-to-body ratio of any mammal, according to BrainFacts.org, a website produced by the Society for Neuroscience.
Among humans, brain size doesn’t indicate a person’s level of intelligence. Some geniuses in their field have smaller-than-average brains, while others have brains that are larger than average, according to Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. For example, compare the brains of two highly acclaimed writers. The Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev’s brain was found to weigh 71 ounces , while the brain of French writer Anatole France weighed only 36 ounces .
“The more complicated a brain gets, the more gyri and sulci, or wiggly hills and valleys, it has,” Holland told Live Science. Other intelligent animals, such as monkeys and dolphins, also have these folds in their cortex, whereas mice have smooth brains, he said.
Gene And Protein Expression
Bioinformatics is a field of study that includes the creation and advancement of databases, and computational and statistical techniques, that can be used in studies of the human brain, particularly in the areas of gene and protein expression. Bioinformatics and studies in genomics, and functional genomics, generated the need for DNA annotation, a transcriptome technology, identifying genes, their locations and functions.GeneCards is a major database.
As of 2017, just under 20,000 protein-coding genes are seen to be expressed in the human, and some 400 of these genes are brain-specific. The data that has been provided on gene expression in the brain has fuelled further research into a number of disorders. The long term use of alcohol for example, has shown altered gene expression in the brain, and cell-type specific changes that may relate to alcohol use disorder. These changes have been noted in the synaptictranscriptome in the prefrontal cortex, and are seen as a factor causing the drive to alcohol dependence, and also to other substance abuses.
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How Many Neurons Are In The Brain
Older estimates have long suggested that 100 billion neurons in the human brain was the magic number, but some more recent research suggests that the brain actually contains fewer neurons than previously believed.
The human brain is made up of a complex network of neurons. These neurons serve as the building blocks of the nervous system, transmitting information to and from the brain and throughout the body. You probably expect that a large number of neurons are required for such a complex process, but just how many neurons are there in the human brain?
Why Bother With Cell Numbers
Across species, the number of neurons and their relative abundance in different parts of the brain is widely considered to be a determinant of neural function and, consequently, of behavior . Among mammals, those species with the largest brains, such as cetaceans and primates, have a greater range and versatility of behavior than those with the smallest brains, such as insectivores . Among birds, those that are larger-brained are also considered the most intelligent . A recent comparison of several parameters, including brain size, relative brain size, encephalization, conduction velocity and estimated numbers of neurons led two authors to conclude that the factors that correlate better with intelligence are the number of cortical neurons and conduction velocity, as the basis for information processing . Indeed, within non-human primates, a recent meta-analysis concluded that the best predictor of the cognitive abilities of a species is absolute brain size, not relative size nor encephalization quotient .
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Brains Made Of Cells But How Many
Back when I had just received my freshly minted Ph.D. in neuroscience and started working in science communication, I found out that 6 in 10 college-educated people believed they only used 10% of their brains. Im glad to say that theyre wrong: We use all of it, just in different ways at different times.
The myth seemed to be supported by statements in serious textbooks and scientific articles that the human brain is made of 100 billion neurons and 10 times as many supporting glial cells. I wondered if those numbers were facts or guesses. Did anyone actually know that those were the numbers of cells in the human brain?
No, they didnt.
Neuroscientists did have a rough idea. Some estimates suggested 10 to 20 billion neurons for the human cerebral cortex, others some 60 to 80 billion in another region called the cerebellum. With the rest of the brain known to be fairly sparse in comparison, the number of neurons in the whole human brain was definitely closer to 100 billion than to just 10 billion or 1 trillion .
But there we were, neuroscientists armed with fancy tools to modify genes and light up parts of the brain, still in the dark about what different brains were made of and how the human brain compared to others.
Animals Share An Evolutionary History
Not only humans have brains, of course. Almost all animals have a nervous system of some kind . The brains of different animals are different in some ways but similar in many other ways. This is because all life on the planet shares a history: all animals evolved from common ancestors, so they inherited some of the characteristics from these ancestors. This is like a brother and a sister who are alike because they have the same parents, first cousins who have the same grandparents, second cousins who share great-grandparents, and so on. All life shares a great-great-great-grandparent in the distant past.
We can use these similarities and differences between animals to put the animals together into groups. Two birdssay, an eagle and a parrothave more in common than an eagle and a monkey. And they are closer relatives. In a family, this would be like saying that a brother is more like his sister than he is like his cousin. A brother and a sister have the same parents, but with their cousin they only share the same grandparents, further back. Still, all mammals have fur and produce milk to feed their young. Every bird has feathers and lays eggs. And these similarities between close relatives appear in their brains, too.
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Exercise Is Just As Good For Your Brain As It Is For Your Body
Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your brain. As your increased breathing pumps more oxygen into your bloodstream, more oxygen is delivered to your brain. This leads to neurogenesisor the production of neuronsin certain parts of your brain that control memory and thinking. Neurogenesis increases brain volume, and this cognitive reserve is believed to help buffer against the effects of dementia.
It has been noted that exercise promotes the production of neurotrophins, leading to greater brain plasticity, and therefore, better memory and learning. In addition to neurotrophins, exercise also results in an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, which boost information processing and mood.
Concluding Remarks: Our Place In Nature
According to this now possible neuron-centered view, rather than to the body-centered view that dominates the literature , the human brain has the number of neurons that is expected of a primate brain of its size a cerebral cortex that is exactly as large as expected for a primate brain of 1.5kg just as many neurons as expected in the cerebral cortex for the size of this structure and, despite having a relatively large cerebral cortex , this enlarged cortex holds just the same proportion of brain neurons in humans as do other primate cortices . This final observation calls for a reappraisal of the view of brain evolution that concentrates on the expansion of the cerebral cortex, and its replacement with a more integrated view of coordinate evolution of cellular composition, neuroanatomical structure, and function of cerebral cortex and cerebellum .
Other facts that deserve updating are the ubiquitous quote of 100 billion neurons , and, more strikingly, the widespread remark that there are 10× more glial cells than neurons in the human brain. As we have shown, glial cells in the human brain are at most 50% of all brain cells, which is an important finding since it is one more brain characteristic that we share with other primates .
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The Architecture Of The Neuron
The central nervous system is made up of two basic types of cells: neurons and glia & . Glia outnumber neurons in some parts of the brain, but neurons are the key players in the brain.
Neurons are information messengers. They use electrical impulses and chemical signals to transmit information between different areas of the brain, and between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Everything we think and feel and do would be impossible without the work of neurons and their support cells, the glial cells called astrocytes and oligodendrocytes .
Neurons have three basic parts: a cell body and two extensions called an axon and a dendrite . Within the cell body is a nucleus , which controls the cells activities and contains the cells genetic material. The axon looks like a long tail and transmits messages from the cell. Dendrites look like the branches of a tree and receive messages for the cell. Neurons communicate with each other by sending chemicals, called neurotransmitters, across a tiny space, called a synapse, between the axons and dendrites of adjacent neurons.
There are three classes of neurons:
How Many Cells Does The Human Body Produce Daily
Its difficult to measure exactly how many cells your body makes on any given day. The lifespan of each of the 200 types of cells varies considerably, so not every type of cell is produced at an equal rate.
A good start is to look at the number of RBCs that are produced each day, as RBCs are the most abundant type of cell in the body. RBCs live for about 120 days, at which point they are removed from circulation by macrophages in the spleen and liver. At the same time, specialized stem cells are replacing the dead red blood cells at roughly the same rate.
The average body makes about
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