What Is The Brain And Why Does It Matter
The brain is a three-pound organ that serves as headquarters for our bodies. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to process information, move our limbs, or even breathe. Together with the spinal cord, brain structure and function helps control the central nervous systemthe main part of two that make up the human nervous system. The human nervous system is responsible for helping us think, breathe, move, react and feel.
Like any good command center, there is a structure to the brain and its operations that help it carry out its basic functions.
Neurons And Glial Cells
The human brain has about 80-100 billion neurons, and roughly the same of glial cells. Neurons and glial cells help coordinate and transport signals within the human nervous system. While neurons communicate and receive information with cells, glial cells protect and support neurons in completing their mission.
Be Good To Your Brain
So what can you do for your brain? Plenty.
- Eat healthy foods. They contain vitamins and minerals that are important for the nervous system.
- Get a lot of playtime .
- Wear a helmet when you ride your bike or play other sports that require head protection.
- Don’t drink alcohol, take drugs, or use tobacco.
- Use your brain by doing challenging activities, such as puzzles, reading, playing music, making art, or anything else that gives your brain a workout!
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Lobes Of The Brain And What They Control
Each brain hemisphere has four sections, called lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Each lobe controls specific functions.
- Frontal lobe. The largest lobe of the brain, located in the front of the head, the frontal lobe is involved in personality characteristics, decision-making and movement. Recognition of smell usually involves parts of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe contains Brocas area, which is associated with speech ability.
- Parietal lobe. The middle part of the brain, the parietal lobe helps a person identify objects and understand spatial relationships . The parietal lobe is also involved in interpreting pain and touch in the body. The parietal lobe houses Wernickes area, which helps the brain understand spoken language.
- Occipital lobe. The occipital lobe is the back part of the brain that is involved with vision.
- Temporal lobe. The sides of the brain, temporal lobes are involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.
Some Key Neurotransmitters At Work
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that brain cells use to talk to each other. Some neurotransmitters make cells more active while others block or dampen a cell’s activity .
Acetylcholine is an;excitatory neurotransmitter;because it generally makes cells more excitable. It governs muscle contractions and causes glands to secrete hormones. Alzheimers disease, which initially affects memory formation, is associated with a shortage of acetylcholine.
Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Too much glutamate can kill or damage neurons and has been linked to disorders including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, seizures, and increased sensitivity to pain.
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps control muscle activity and is an important part of the visual system. Drugs that increase GABA levels in the brain are used to treat epileptic seizures and tremors in patients with Huntingtons disease.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that constricts blood vessels and brings on sleep. It is also involved in temperature regulation. Low levels of serotonin may cause sleep problems and depression, while too much serotonin can lead to seizures.
Dopamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in mood and the control of complex movements. The loss of dopamine activity in some portions of the brain leads to the muscular rigidity of Parkinsons disease. Many medications used to treat behavioral disorders work by modifying the action of dopamine in the brain.
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Food And Waste Transport
The cerebrospinal fluid is responsible for bringing in nutrients and removing waste in the brain and spinal cord. It is found in the meninges layers and is moved through the brain by ventricles.
The brain’s four main ventricles help the cerebrospinal fluid nourish and cleanse the brain. They also cushion the brain from injury.
What Is The Largest Part Of The Brain
Its the cerebrum one of the three parts that make up the most powerful organ in your body.
When you see a picture of the brain, in all likelihood, youll notice the cerebrum. Because its the biggest part of the brain, it makes up 80% of the overall brain volume. It sits at the topmost part of the organ and is also the most advanced contraption in the known universe, making it also the smartest part of your superbrain.
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The cerebrum, being your biggest part of the brain, is the source of all your intellectual activities, like your memories, your imagination, your thought processes, your ability to recognize people and things, your creativity, and so on.
And as the largest part of the human brain, the cerebrum is home to many of the 86 billion neurons found in the grey matter of our brains. Known to many as the seat of consciousness, its where your perception, memory, and data from the senses come together to make sense of everything.
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Blood Supply To The Brain
Two sets of blood vessels supply blood and oxygen to the brain: the vertebral arteries and the carotid arteries.
The external carotid arteries extend up the sides of your neck, and are where you can feel your pulse when you touch the area with your fingertips. The internal carotid arteries branch into the skull and circulate blood to the front part of the brain.
The vertebral arteries follow the spinal column into the skull, where they join together at the brainstem and form the basilar artery, which supplies blood to the rear portions of the brain.
The circle of Willis, a loop of blood vessels near the bottom of the brain that connects major arteries, circulates blood from the front of the brain to the back and helps the arterial systems communicate with one another.
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.
What Part Of The Brain Controls Word Retrieval
Brocaâs AphasiaDamage to a discrete part of the brainin the left frontal lobe of the language-dominant hemisphere has been shown to significantly affect the use of spontaneous speech and motor speech control. Words may be uttered very slowly and poorly articulated.
where is language stored in the brain? For more than a century, itâs been established that our capacity to use language is usually located in the left hemisphere of the brain, specifically in two areas: Brocaâs area and Wernickeâs area .
Also to know is, what is word retrieval difficulty?
A âword retrieval difficultyâ or âword finding problemâ is when a person knows and understands a particular word, but has difficulty retrieving it and using it in their speech. A child with an acquired brain injury will also have greater problems with finding the right word when they are tired or stressed.
What causes loss of word retrieval?
Causes. There are many causes of wordâfinding difficulty, including stroke, delirium, major depression, anxiety, head injuries, and aging.
The Hippocampus And Long
A short-term memory can be consolidated into an enduring long-term memory. This involves a system of brain structures within the medial temporal lobe that are essential for forming declarative memories. The hippocampus is a key region in the medial temporal lobe, and processing information through the hippocampus is necessary for the short-term memory to be encoded into a long-term memory.
The long-term memory does not remain stored permanently in the hippocampus. These long-term memories are important and having them stored in only one brain location is risky damage to that area would result in the loss of all of our memories.
Instead, it is proposed that long-term memories become integrated into the cerebral cortex . This process is referred to as cortical integration; it protects the information stored in the brain.
However, damage to areas of the brain, particularly the hippocampus, results in loss of declarative memories, which is known as amnesia.
The famous case study of H.M.â Henry Molaison â demonstrated the hippocampus is vital to the formation of long-term memories. H.M. had his hippocampus removed as a 23-year-old in an attempt to treat epileptic seizures that originated in his medial temporal lobe.
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Do Humans Have Two Brains
The human body has two brains, but not two brains as we know them, Dr Candrawinata said. Our brain in our head is responsible for our thinking and processing. It is essentially a command centre for our nervous system. Our second brain is located in our tummy, or to be more specific, in our digestive system.
Brain Map Frontal Lobes
The frontal lobes are located directly behind the forehead. The frontal lobes are the largest lobes in the human brain and they are also the most common region of injury in traumatic brain injury. The frontal lobes are important for voluntary movement, expressive language and for managing higher level executive functions. Executive functions refer to a collection of cognitive skills including the capacity to plan, organise, initiate, self-monitor and control ones responses in order to achieve a goal. The frontal lobes are considered our behaviour and emotional control centre and home to our personality. There is no other part of the brain where lesions can cause such a wide variety of symptoms.
Damage to the frontal lobes can result in:
- Loss of simple movement of various body parts
- Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee
- Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others
- Inability to express language
- Loss of flexibility in thinking and persistence of a single idea or behaviour
- Inability to focus on a task and to filter out distractions
- Mood fluctuations
- Difficulty inhibiting or controlling a response or impulse
- Reduced motivation, initiation and persistence on activities
- Reduced awareness/insight into difficulties
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Other Cool Facts About The Brain
- The brain can’t multitask, according to the Dent Neurologic Institute. Instead, it switches between tasks, which increases errors and makes things take longer.;
- The human brain triples in size during the first year of life and reaches full maturity at about age 25.
- Humans use all of the brain all of the time, not just 10% of it.;
- The brain is 60% fat, according to Northwestern Medicine.
- The human brain can generate 23 watts of electrical power enough to fuel a small lightbulb.
The Architecture Of The Brain
The brain is like a committee of experts. All the parts of the brain work together, but each part has its own special properties. The brain can be divided into three basic units: the;forebrain, the;midbrain, and the;hindbrain.
The hindbrain includes the upper part of the spinal cord, the brain stem, and a wrinkled ball of tissue called the cerebellum;. The hindbrain controls the bodys vital functions such as respiration and heart rate. The cerebellum coordinates movement and is involved in learned rote movements. When you play the piano or hit a tennis ball you are activating the cerebellum. The uppermost part of the brainstem is the midbrain, which controls some reflex actions and is part of the circuit involved in the control of eye movements and other voluntary movements. The forebrain is the largest and most highly developed part of the human brain: it consists primarily of the;cerebrum; and the structures hidden beneath it .
When people see pictures of the brain it is usually the cerebrum that they notice. The cerebrum sits at the topmost part of the brain and is the source of intellectual activities. It holds your memories, allows you to plan, enables you to imagine and think. It allows you to recognize friends, read books, and play games.
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How Does A Brain Tumour Affect Someone
Your brain is an incredible organ that controls everything that your body does. How a brain tumour affects someone depends on where it is located and the size of the tumour. Different parts of your brain are responsible for different functions which can all be affected if a tumor is located in that area.
What does the brain do?
The brain does so many things! It controls all of the functions of your body. There are 3 main parts of the brain the cerebrum, cerebellum and the brain stem, which all have different and important functions.
The cerebrum is the biggest part of your brain and is responsible for your thinking and voluntary movements the moving that you decide to do like picking up a pen. The right side of the cerebrum controls the left side of your body and the left side of the cerebrum controls the right side of your body. Your cerebrum is what remembers things, solves problems and is responsible for learning and emotion. It is also in charge of your senses. The cerebrum is split into 4 lobes, which each have different functions:
What is a brain tumour?
The cerebrum is not the only location a brain tumour can occur. A cerebellum tumour can cause problems with coordination and balance, dizziness and sickness. Brainstem tumours can cause problems with speaking and swallowing, double vision and problems with walking.
What Kind Of System Does The Nervous System Work As
The nervous system controls various organs of the body directly. The brain also receives information from many organs of the body and adjusts signals to these organs to maintain proper functioning. The skeletal system makes up the framework of the body and allows us to move when our muscles contract.
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What Happens In The Brain During Creative Thinking
So now that you know about three different types of creativity, insight, convergent thinking, and divergent thinking, you might think that the brain processes must be complicated. Previous research has demonstrated that several different thought processes in the brain, including processes called working memory, abstraction, planning, and cognitive flexibility, are all critical to creative thinking. This research has also shown that the ability to develop strategies is a key part of creativity . Neuroscientists , in their attempt to make a connection between creative thought processes and the parts of the brain that may process them, have defined creativity as requiring the mixing and remixing of mental representations to create novel ideas and ways of thinking If you look back to Steve Jobs quote, you will see that he describes creativity in a similar way. Combining and recombining mental representations is simply connecting things in the brain in the way that the brain stores information.
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What Are The Regions Of The Brain And How Do They Fit Into The Brain Structure
The three main parts of the brain are split amongst three regions developed during the embryonic period: the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. Together, these regions act as a useful map to understanding the various parts of the brain’s structure and functions.
The forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain serve as regions that make finding the various parts of the brain easier./ BruceBlaus/Wikimedia Commons
To better understand the roles of the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain within the brain, check out the short video below:
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Learning Recalling And Thinking
The brain regulates an array of functions necessary to survival: the action of our five senses, the continuous monitoring of the spatial surround, contraction and relaxation of the digestive muscles, the rhythms of breathing and a regular heartbeat. As the vital functions maintain their steady course without our conscious exertion, we are accustomed to consider the brain as preeminently the organ of thought. The brain houses our mind and our memories, and we rely on its information-processing capacities when we set out to learn something new.
But where in the brain can we locate memory or thought itself? offered some clues about the ways scientific investigationfrom the molecular level to studies of the alert, behaving animalhas begun to define in physical terms an abstract quality such as âattention.â Similar techniques and approaches are being applied to other mental functions, too, even those as seemingly intangible as learning, remembering, or thinking about the outside world.
Learning and memory, which for many years were considered central problems in psychology, the social sciences, and philosophy, have recently assumed greater importance in the area of neurobiology, itself a confluence of several lines of investigation.
Most available evidence suggests that the functions of memory are carried out by the hippocampus and other related structures in the temporal lobe.