The human brain is an amazing space. It holds the key to every aspect of life. From respiration to perspiration, human functions simply cannot occur without input from the brain. Read on to learn some amazing facts about your brain.
Human Brains are the Proportionally Largest Amongst Mammals
Compared to other mammals, human brains are the largest proportionally to body mass. This is the main differentiation between human brains and those of other mammals. On average, the human brain weighs in at 3.3 pounds, only about 2% of an average-sized adult’s body weight.
Are you curious to know what mammal actually does have the largest brain size wise? It’s the sperm whale, whose massive 22-pound brain is only about 1.2% of their actual average body mass.
The Cerebrum Does A Lot of Work
Of that 3.3 pounds of brain, the cerebrum weighs in at around 2.8 pounds, about 85%. The cerebrum consists of two hemispheres which are called the left brain and the right brain. It controls voluntary motor responses, sight, your sense of smell, vision, hearing, emotions, thoughts, language, learning capabilities, and tactile senses. You could say that the cerebrum does most of your body’s heavy lifting.
Right-hand or Left-hand Dominance is Determined by the Brain
The right brain and left brain located in your cerebrum control whether you are left-handed or right-handed. The right brain is in charge of controlling the muscles on the left side of your body. Conversely, your left brain is in charge of controlling the muscles on the right.
How does that determine dominance? These two hemispheres are almost—but not quite—symmetrically sized. Whichever side is larger in your own brain will determine this. So, if you are left-handed, your right brain is slightly larger and somewhat dominant over your left brain.
Childhood Brain Development
A newborn baby’s brain will triple in size during the first year of life. That’s rapid growth! After that, the brain continues to develop until you reach adulthood.
Water and the Brain
Your brain requires constant nourishing. First of all, it’s about 75% water! This is why one of the first symptoms of dehydration is confusion or loss of mental clarity. To keep your brain healthy, you must keep it supplied with plenty of water.
No Pain in the Brain
While the brain controls and processes the pain your body feels, the brain itself actually does not sense pain.
Your Brain Never Sleeps
When you shut off the lights and go to sleep, your brain is still hard at work. In fact, as you sleep your brain begins to repair and restore all the cells of your body. This is why you wake up with glowing skin and clear eyes after a great night of sleep. It’s also why internally you require more sleep when you are battling any disease or illness.
Have you ever noticed that your memory or comprehension suffers after a sleepless night? In addition to cellular repair, neural repairs are happening during your sleeping hours. This helps to control your moods and ability to process input from the world around you.
The Brain Is an Energy Drain
Your brain is an energy drain! Because of its unrelenting workload, it requires between 20% to 30% of the blood your heart pumps at any given moment. Plus, it consumes almost 20% of your oxygen at any time. In fact, this is one reason why you can pass out when you become short of breath. Here’s a final fact about the brain’s energy consumption. In younger children, the ever-developing brain consumes almost half of his energy.
Physical Fitness Contributes to Brain Health
Physical fitness and an exercise regiment do more than make a healthy body. They also contribute to brain health. When your cardiovascular health is strong, it will deliver all that blood that we mentioned earlier to your brain the most efficiently.
You Really Do Have Eyes in the Back of Your Head
Has a teacher ever told you that she had eyes in the back of her head? Guess what. We all do. In fact, your occipital lobe, which is responsible for your eyesight, is located at the very back of the brain. It’s connected to the eyes at the front of the skull by a bundle of nerves that connect the eyes to the occipital lobe to interpret data and become vision output.
You’ve probably experience brain freeze at least once in your lifetime. If eating a popsicle sends sudden, sharp pain to the front of your head, here’s the reason for it. As you eat a frozen treat, you chill the back of your throat, including the blood vessels that deliver the blood to your brain. This sudden burst of cold causes constriction of these vessels. The result is the short burst of pain you know as “brain freeze.” The pain subsides quickly as the blood vessels re-open.
As mentioned earlier, the human brain experiences rapid growth during the first 18 years of life. It is at its peak of development from 18 to about 30. By around the age of 30, your brain begins to shrink ever so slightly. This “shrinkage” as we age is, in part, the reason we start to lose cognitive function, become absent-minded, or develop forgetful habits as we age. The amount of shrinkage varies from person to person. However, the more shrinkage one experiences, the greater the cognitive impact and development of memory issues.
The human brain is a complex organ. The medical community is constantly uncovering more data about our brains and their tremendous capabilities. While new discoveries are being made, there is still so much for scientists to learn. However, one thing is very clear. Our brains are responsible for a huge workload and controlling every response in our bodies. And that’s a very heavy load to carry!