The Brain is such a unique part of our body it deserves to be mentioned here in more detail of its essential functions. So here we go.
Our brain is a genuinely unique evolutionary product. It is incredibly complex and yet so elegant. Despite years and years of research, it is still not completely understood. Neuroscience can, to some extent, see what is going on within the brain, but the information gained is not soo black and white as we are led to believe. Here is an article that explains why neuroscience is more of a guessing game.
Back to the brain.
It consists of many parts that are all interconnected with one another, exchanging information all the time. Certain parts of the brain perform the bulk of operations they are assigned, but the final result of any activity occurs in the overall brain.
Neurons do information processing. Brain neuronal density is not uniform, meaning certain parts have more neurons than others.
It is fascinating when you take a moment and reflect that your consciousness is housed there with all your habits, beliefs, knowledge, memories, emotions, likes, and dislikes.
Your brain is the central mechanism that drives and regulates your entire body.
One study found the human brain contains around 86 billion nerve cells named Neurons and 85 billion Glial cells that support neurons. It represents only 2% of body mass, yet it consumes about 20% of all energy.
- Nerve impulses sent from the brain reach speeds of 274 km/h
- In your awake state, your brain produces enough electricity to power a lightbulb.
- 80% of our body heat is lost from the head.
- The brain remains conscious for 15-20 seconds after oxygen is cut.
- Your brain can survive for 5 – 10 minutes without oxygen.
- The brain itself can’t feel pain because there are no pain receptors there. The headache is caused by surrounding muscles and blood vessels that do feel pain.
- The world’s fastest supercomputer requires 24 million Watts of power to operate, but our brains only require 20 Watts and run about 100,000 times faster.
The brain consists of two hemispheres, the Left and right. Each hemisphere is responsible for its own set of functions.
The Left hemisphere is for Logic, Language, Reasoning, Science, Math, Writing, Analytic thought. Controls Right side of the body.
The Right hemisphere is for Imagination, Creativity, Art awareness, Insight, Music awareness, 3D forms. Controls the Left side of the body.
Each hemisphere is further divided into four lobes.
- Frontal Lobe
The Frontal Lobe is where all the executive or, in other words, higher brain functions occur. Problem-solving, reasoning, decision making, planning, and emotional regulation all happen here.
- Parietal Lobe
Areas present in Parietal Lobe are responsible for integrating sensory information, including touch, temperature, pressure, and pain.
- Occipital Lobe
Occipital Lobe is the region where vision is processed. It is not surprising that eyesight processing has such a large brain part devoted to it. We gather more than 80% of environmental information through eyesight alone. Occipital Lobe is part of the brain that processes what you see. Distance, depth, location.
- Temporal Lobe
Temporal Lobe is also responsible for sensory information processing, such as auditory information, Visual processing (facial recognition), Memory.
Brain Comunication Messengers
Brain communication chemical messengers are called Neurotransmitters and are a natural compound that your body makes. Your nervous system uses it to send information between nerve cells. There are more than one hundred Neurotransmitters in the human brain, but only a few main ones do most of the work. These are the ones that are also responsible for most mood disorders. We will focus on the primary seven.
Dopamine is associated with reward-seeking behavior. It is produced by specific neurons in the brain and can be excitatory or inhibitory.
Dopamine plays a vital role in executive function, motor control, motivation, arousal, reinforcement, and reward. The primary location of the production of Dopamine is in the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, and arcuate nucleus.
Acetylcholine is the chemical that motor neurons of the nervous system release to activate muscles. Imbalances of Acetylcholine are related to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This Neurotransmitter also links to Depression.
- GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid)
GABA is an amino acid that calms down the nervous system. During those stressful times, your brain becomes very excited, and as a response, your body produces GABA to calm your nervous system. Without GABA, you will increasingly become restless and anxious and might experience seizures.
Glutamate plays a vital role in learning and Memory. It is by far the most abundant and vital excitatory Neurotransmitter for our brain. Estimates conclude that over half of all brain synapses release Glutamate. In case of a brain injury, high concentrations of this chemical are toxic to neurons.
- Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
Epinephrine, commonly known as Adrenaline, is a Hormone and Neurotransmitter released into the bloodstream when we strongly feel fear or anger. It produces a response in our body that increases heart rate, muscle strength, blood pressure, and sugar metabolism
Serotonin is thought to be the key chemical linked to mood regulation and feeling of happiness. It is heavily linked to Depression and anxiety. It affects sleep, digestion, and eating. Most of the Serotonin in the body is located in the GastroIntestinal tract.
Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter. It is also called the love drug. It plays an essential role in reproduction. It is the chemical that allows parents to bond with their child or the love we experience towards dogs, for example. It is also released during sexual intercourse and orgasms. Oxytocin has a positive effect on social behavior.
The brain is the command room, and the spinal cord is the highway for signal traversal from the brain to the body. These two are significant parts of the central nervous system. Nerves from the spinal cord branch to every part of the body, relaying and gathering information. They are called peripheral nervous systems.
The body houses almost all critical systems that the brain needs to engage its environment. It also possesses all the vital organs that are required to ensure organism survival.
The body consists of many systems where each has its role. Muscular, Skeletal, Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Digestive, Nervous, Endocrine, The Excretory, Lymphatic and Immune system.
Recent estimates put the total body cell count at about 37 trillion. There are approximately 200 different types of specialized cells in the body, each performing its function. Each day around 330 billion cells die, equating to 80 grams of body mass. They are replaced by new cells. 86% of this amount are red blood cells.
- There are around 38 trillion bacterial cells in your body in addition to your 37 billion cells.
- We breathe about 50.000 times per day, using 11 m3 of air
- If all arteries and veins of the human circulatory system were laid end to end, the total length would be enough to circle the earth more than twice.
- The cornea is the only organ in the entire human body that has no blood supply. It gets oxygen directly from the air.
- If your hair were allowed to grow untrimmed for your whole life, the hair length would be about 725 kilometers.
- About 60 % of the body consists of water
- Fingernails and hair growth stops after the heart stops pumping blood (death)
- Skin is the body’s largest organ and comprises approximately 15 % of a person’s total weight.
- From a genetic level, all human beings are more than 99 percent identical.
- The heart beats more than 3 billion times in the average human lifespan (80 years).
- An average-sized man eats about 33 tons of food in his/her lifetime
- Stomach acid is so strong it can dissolve metal.
So there is no misinterpretation. The mind we are talking about here is your conscious thoughts when you are running minimally on automatic. Or, in other words, what makes you you, not on a biological level, but spiritual (if such a thing even exists).
We know for some time now that what you feel, your beliefs, attitudes even subconscious thinking are subjected to biological structures, biological and chemical responses in your brain. If you take your own time to research this subject, we are confident you will reach the same conclusion. Assuming the brain is healthy, it is also plastic, meaning it can learn new things, change feelings, change beliefs and attitudes, and change automatic subconscious thinking.
You can, by conscious determination, change your entire perspective on your own life from seeing the glass half empty to seeing it half full. However, the change is not even remotely easy because you have to go against your automatic subconscious mind. It is doable. However, this is how a long-time addict recovers from his drug use.
When fighting off any addiction, this is the part that tries to convince you to give in to the addiction. It’s not a separate entity. It just does what it was conditioned to do by you.
The subconscious mind functions automatically in the background. You don’t notice it unless you put your attention to it.
It is the mechanism by which your conscious thought, in turn, changes your biological structures of the brain. The change goes far further than that. Consciously changing your brain to be more optimistic regarding your life inevitably changes your neurotransmitter balance in your brain, and that, in turn, affects your entire body.
The conscious part, You, is an extraordinary system. From a biological standpoint, it is not known how it formed or even where in the brain it is located. Numerous studies try to pinpoint its location within the brain. Most recent studies put the consciousness not at a specific location within the brain but as complex brain-wide dynamic interactions across 42 brain regions that belong to 6 brain networks with important cognition roles.
Why do you think emotional distress can make you sick? If stressed, your immune system is highly more unlikely to fight off infection fast.
The Placebo effect has been proven repeatedly to affect the physical body, despite the fact that its only active ingredient is your belief in it.
However, we have a mechanism to explore our minds and behaviors and control and change them. It is achieved by focusing attention on that subconscious act. Here is where Mindfulness comes into play. It represents the idea to put your awareness on your current actions, and as with any activity that you enforce with repetition, this becomes stronger over time. It is important to point out that the brain can release chemicals into the body just by thought alone. Focused thought can trigger chemicals in the body, signaling genes to turn on and off.
It is the field of Epigenetics. The term means changes in genetic sequence and has evolved to include any process that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence.
Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits. External and environmental factors turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells read those genes.
Epigenetic changes are thought to be responsible for the occurrence of cancer, among other mental disorders.
There is a link between epigenetics and negative thinking as well as positive thinking. Stress as an environmental factor can change the gene expressions, leading to lower immunity, cancer, or other disorders. By that logic alone, so can positive thinking change how genes express themselves. Who knows, we might even be able to change our eye color.
A Farewell Though
Science has not yet come so far as to say that we now understand our brain, body, and mind, separately and connected. Just by thought alone, you can conclude that life and our experience of it are far more mysterious than it seems at a superficial glance.
Think about this. Everything is made from atoms. Atoms in configurations gave birth to molecules; molecules in their numerous configurations produced cells. Different configurations of Cells produced you. From that, your body, brain, and consciousness are formed. The further down on the scale you go, the more incredible it becomes, how so simple building blocks in time produced life as we know it.
I will leave you with that.
Article Writen by Joe Average