What Does The Brain Do
The brain controls what we think and feel, how we learn and remember, and the way we move and talk. But it also controls things we’re less aware of like the beating of our hearts and the digestion of our food.
Think of the brain as a central computer that controls all the body’s functions. The rest of the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body. It does this via the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down through the back. It contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.
When a message comes into the brain from anywhere in the body, the brain tells the body how to react. For example, if you touch a hot stove, the nerves in your skin shoot a message of pain to your brain. The brain then sends a message back telling the muscles in your hand to pull away. Luckily, this neurological relay race happens in an instant.
Facts About The Human Brain Everyone Gets Wrong
Strange as it is to think about, the most important part of your identity is the squishy ball of grey matter squeezed into your skull. Everything you understand about the universe around you, from the color of the sky to the smell of the sunflowers to that wonky Plato paper you wrote in college, can all be credited to your favorite little cognitive organ. When it comes down to it, you are your brain.
Just because you understand everything using your brain, though, doesn’t mean you understand anything about it. Despite the fact that humans spend every waking moment firing up their little think-nuggets, there are a lot of misconceptions about how the brain works, to the point where outright falsehoods are spouted as facts nearly every day. Don’t be one of those people. Whether you want to use your left brain or your right brain or just go all in, it’s time to expand your mind with the truth.
The Human Brain Proteome
The function of the brain, defined as the central nervous system, is to receive, process and execute the coordinated higher functions of perception, motion and cognition that signify human life. The cellular components of the underlying and highly complex network of transmitted signals include neurons and supportive glial cells. Brain tissue includes different cells types as well as the space between the cell bodies, often referred to as neuropil, the meshwork of exons, dendrites, synapses and extracellular matrix that embed the central nervous system cells.
Protein-coding genes are classified based on RNA expression in brain from two different perspectives:
Figure 1. Midsagittal schematic drawing of the different regions of the human brain, color coded according to the 13 regions.
In addition to the basic regional distribution of gene expression in the human brain, a more detailed overview of gene expression is available. This dataset is based on RNAseq analysis of 1324 samples from several donors, providing a detailed overview of protein expression in more than 200 subregions of the human brain. Gene expression in each subregion can be explored on the gene summary page.
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Physical Properties Of The Brain
The brain is a complex tissue that is anisotropic and remarkably soft indeed, it is one of the softest organs in the body. And when things are soft, they get hard to engineer. Materials scientists have found it challenging to fabricate functional biomaterials resembling the low stiffness of brain tissue. One important question that remains: why is brain tissue so soft?
The brains unique architecture causes it to respond mechanically as a poroviscoelastic material, whereby the cerebrospinal fluid can be excreted from the brains matrix under compression. This response contributes to the apparent bulk softness of the brain, regardless of the stiffness of the elements arranged throughout the tissue,,. In microscopic measurements, brain is also exceptionally soft brain parenchyma contains very little fibrous collagen I, which correlates strongly with the stiffness of different organs. Furthermore, it contains large amounts of different proteogylcans,, heavily glycosylated proteins that bind water. This makes the water content in brain relatively high, between 73 and 85% of the total mass.
On the other hand, myelin acts as an insulator material, which is composed mainly of lipids. In fact, lipids account for roughly 60% of the total dry weight of the brain. As the myelin content of neural tissue scales with the tissues stiffness, differential myelination contributes to the mechanical heterogeneity of brain and spinal cord tissue.
Can Ptsd Cause Brain Lesions
“Can emotional trauma create brain damage?” many people question. PTSD has been proven in studies to impair brain processes in a variety of ways. The amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex are the three parts of the brain that are most affected. These are the same areas of the brain that are usually damaged by other forms of chronic stress such as physical injury, abuse, or alcoholism.
PTSD causes inflammation in the body, which can lead to health problems including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even dementia. Stress also increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Stress can also trigger or exacerbate existing mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. If you have PTSD, it is important to receive treatment from an expert in this field.
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Headaches Are Brain Aches
Headaches suck, and migraines suck even more. However, as painful or disorientating as these sensations might be, the thing that’s hurting isn’t actually your brain. That lovely organ, as it happens, is unable to feel pain, touch, or any sensation, according to BrainFacts.org, as there are no nociceptors located in brain tissue. In other words, if you were fully conscious as a brain surgeon was cutting through your grey matter with a scalpel, you wouldn’t even feel him cutting your brain … you know, once he got past all the hair and scalp and skull. Creepy.
So what body part is tormenting you during a headache? It turns out that between the brain and the skull are layers of tissue known as the dura and pia, which do have nociceptors and are thus able to tell you how they’re feeling when they get uncomfortable. Calling it a dura-pia-ache is a bit less catchy than “headache,” admittedly.
How Are Brain Lesions Diagnosed
If symptoms suggest that a person may be suffering from a brain lesion, it is important to contact the doctor for an appointment. A doctor will help diagnose and offer treatment options for each patient depending on the extent of the condition.
The doctor will ask questions about the patients symptoms and medical history and then perform a physical examination.
In order to find the location of the lesion, the doctor may touch the patients skin with hot, cold or vibrating objects, and also may pinch the patient to check for the feeling of pain. Additional tests may also be recommended by the doctor to further assess the condition.
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What Are The Parts Of The Brain
The brain is made up of three main sections: the forebrain, the midbrain, and the hindbrain.
The forebrain is the largest and most complex part of the brain. It consists of the cerebrum the area with all the folds and grooves typically seen in pictures of the brain as well as some other structures under it.
The cerebrum contains the information that essentially makes us who we are: our intelligence, memory, personality, emotion, speech, and ability to feel and move. Specific areas of the cerebrum are in charge of processing these different types of information. These are called lobes, and there are four of them: the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes.
The cerebrum has right and left halves, called hemispheres. They’re connected in the middle by a band of nerve fibers that lets them communicate. These halves may look like mirror images of each other, but many scientists believe they have different functions:
- The left side is considered the logical, analytical, objective side.
- The right side is thought to be more intuitive, creative, and subjective.
So when you’re balancing your checkbook, you’re using the left side. When you’re listening to music, you’re using the right side. It’s believed that some people are more “right-brained” or “left-brained” while others are more “whole-brained,” meaning they use both halves of their brain to the same degree.
In the inner part of the forebrain sits the thalamus, hypothalamus, and :
What Is Missing From Canonical Circuits
The trouble with the use of canonical circuits as a descriptor of the way the brain is organized is that the structure of neural tissue is likely not actually canonical. The notion of canonical circuits in important because it provides a list out of the cell types that comprise real circuits and which type is connected to which other type, but we suspect that description is, in most cases, a far cry from an actual neural network. Canonical circuits often ignore the number of different cells of each class that converge on a postsynaptic cell and the number of different target cells of one class that are innervated by an axon. More problematic, they make the implicit assumption that all cells of the same class have the same connectivity so that showing the average connectivity between two cell types is a sufficient surrogate for mapping the ensemble. But what if the differences between the connectivity within cohorts of cells of the same class are important to circuit function? What happens when the synaptic connections of one class of neurons individuate in response to differences in the activity patterns within another class of neurons?
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When Do We Need To Get Through It
The bloodbrain barrier is generally very effective at preventing unwanted substances from accessing the brain, which has a downside. The vast majority of potential drug treatments do not readily cross the barrier, posing a huge impediment to treating mental and neurological disorders.
One possible way around the problem is to trick the bloodbrain barrier into allowing passage of the drug. This is the so-called Trojan horse approach, in which the drug is fused to a molecule that can pass the bloodbrain barrier via a transporter protein.
A different approach is to temporarily open the bloodbrain barrier using ultrasound.
In a mouse with Alzheimers disease, we showed that using ultrasound to open the bloodbrain barrier can improve cognition and decrease the amount of toxic plaque that accumulates in the brain. We think this may be due to the ability of ultrasound, in combination with injected gas microbubbles, to temporarily and safely open up the bloodbrain barrier to let protective blood-borne factors in. Importantly, this approach didnt damage the brain.
In a new study, we have shown that by temporarily opening the bloodbrain barrier, ultrasound allows more of a therapeutic antibody into the brain, improving Alzheimers-like pathology and cognition more than when using ultrasound or the antibody drug in isolation.
Can Scar Tissue On The Brain Cause Problems
Scar tissue can grow in the hippocampus and amygdala, two brain regions that drive short-term memory and emotions. A person with this syndrome may develop temporal lobe epilepsy with partial seizures that spread to other parts of the brain.
The symptoms of Sturge-Weber syndrome include small bumps or lesions on the skin, gray or white matter scars on the brain, vision problems, cognitive impairment, mental illness, and abnormal growth of body tissues. This disease is also called encephalocele, hydrocephalus, glioma, and neoplasm.
A person with this syndrome has an increased risk of developing cancer. The tumors most often found are brain tumors, especially gliomas. These tumors tend to grow more quickly than those not associated with the syndrome. The young age at which people with this syndrome develop cancer means that they can expect shorter lifespans than average. In fact, between 12% and 15% of patients will die before their 20th birthday.
People with Sturge-Weber syndrome may have headaches, mental changes such as confusion, depression, or anxiety, poor judgment, sleep disorders, problems with speech, weakness in one side of the body, change in appetite, trouble walking, sudden pain in the back or neck, fever, chills, cough, or sore throat.
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The Seat Of Consciousness: High Intellectual Functions Occur In The Cerebrum
The cerebrum is the largest brain structure and part of the forebrain . Its prominent outer portion, the cerebral cortex, not only processes sensory and motor information but enables consciousness, our ability to consider ourselves and the outside world. It is what most people think of when they hear the term grey matter. The cortex tissue consists mainly of neuron cell bodies, and its folds and fissures give the cerebrum its trademark rumpled surface. The cerebral cortex has a left and a right hemisphere. Each hemisphere can be divided into four lobes: the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe, and parietal lobe. The lobes are functional segments. They specialize in various areas of thought and memory, of planning and decision making, and of speech and sense perception.
Difference From The Peripheral Nervous System
This differentiates the CNS from the PNS, which consists of neurons, axons, and . Oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells have similar functions in the CNS and PNS, respectively. Both act to add sheaths to the axons, which acts as a form of insulation allowing for better and faster proliferation of electrical signals along the nerves. Axons in the CNS are often very short, barely a few millimeters, and do not need the same degree of isolation as peripheral nerves. Some peripheral nerves can be over 1 meter in length, such as the nerves to the big toe. To ensure signals move at sufficient speed, myelination is needed.
The way in which the Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes myelinate nerves differ. A Schwann cell usually myelinates a single axon, completely surrounding it. Sometimes, they may myelinate many axons, especially when in areas of short axons. Oligodendrocytes usually myelinate several axons. They do this by sending out thin projections of their , which envelop and enclose the axon.
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The Brainstem: Middle Of The Brain
The brainstem is located in front of the cerebellum. Think of the brainstem like a computer hard-drive. It is the bodys main control panel and is responsible for conveying messages between the brain and other parts of the body. The cerebrum, the cerebellum and the spinal cord are all connected to the brainstem. The brainstem has three main parts: the midbrain, the pons and the medulla oblongata.
The brain stem controls these vital body functions:
- Sensory relay
The Hypothalamus Manages Sensory Impulses Controls Emotions And Regulates Internal Functions
The hypothalamus is part of the diencephalon, a region of the forebrain that connects to the midbrain and the cerebrum. The hypothalamus helps to process sensory impulses of smell, taste, and vision. It manages emotions such as pain and pleasure, aggression and amusement. The hypothalamus is also our visceral control center, regulating the endocrine system and internal functions that sustain the body day to day. It translates nervous system signals into activating or inhibiting hormones that it sends to the pituitary gland. These hormones can activate or inhibit the release of pituitary hormones that target specific glands and tissues in the body. Meanwhile, the hypothalamus manages the autonomic nervous system, devoted to involuntary internal functions. It signals sleep cycles and other circadian rhythms, regulates food consumption, and monitors and adjusts body chemistry and temperature.
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The Geography Of Thought
Each cerebral hemisphere can be divided into sections, or lobes, each of which specializes in different functions. To understand each lobe and its specialty we will take a tour of the cerebral hemispheres, starting with the two frontal lobes , which lie directly behind the forehead. When you plan a schedule, imagine the future, or use reasoned arguments, these two lobes do much of the work. One of the ways the frontal lobes seem to do these things is by acting as short-term storage sites, allowing one idea to be kept in mind while other ideas are considered. In the rearmost portion of each frontal lobe is a motor area , which helps control voluntary movement. A nearby place on the left frontal lobe called Brocas area allows thoughts to be transformed into words.
When you enjoy a good mealthe taste, aroma, and texture of the foodtwo sections behind the frontal lobes called the parietal lobes are at work. The forward parts of these lobes, just behind the motor areas, are the primary sensory areas . These areas receive information about temperature, taste, touch, and movement from the rest of the body. Reading and arithmetic are also functions in the repertoire of each parietal lobe.
As you look at the words and pictures on this page, two areas at the back of the brain are at work. These lobes, called the occipital lobes , process images from the eyes and link that information with images stored in memory. Damage to the occipital lobes can cause blindness.
The Cell Structure Of The Brain
The brain is made up of two types of cells: neurons and glial cells, also known as neuroglia or glia. The neuron is responsible for sending and receiving nerve impulses or signals. Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form myelin and facilitate signal transmission in the nervous system. In the human brain, glial cells outnumber neurons by about 50 to one. Glial cells are the most common cells found in primary brain tumors.
When a person is diagnosed with a brain tumor, a biopsy may be done, in which tissue is removed from the tumor for identification purposes by a pathologist. Pathologists identify the type of cells that are present in this brain tissue, and brain tumors are named based on this association. The type of brain tumor and cells involved impact patient prognosis and treatment.
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