If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, mania, or a combo package, you likely have a love/hate relationship with your brain. Still, you have to admit its design and work are just stunning. How ’bout we lighten things up and take a look at 15 cool brain facts…
The average brain is believed to generate up to 50,000 thoughts per day (being the king of obsessions, I can buy that).
…I’m not so sure about this idea…I kind of agree, but for those who have not resigned themselves to this fate there are just so many questions. Where is the empirical testing?…What happened to PET scans, and SPECT scans, and other like imaging?…Environmental? Hereditary? Acquired?…Where’s the crazy cutting edge stuff?
The gist of my reply was, there are some very hopeful things going-on in the research world; however, it’s my opinion sufficient money isn’t being spent because of concern over positive (profitable) results – return on investment.
As though we didn’t know, the brain is, well, complicated.
15 Cool Facts About the Brain…
Given the exchange with Ryan, I thought long and hard about how I could present some interesting brain tidbits that would address his points of order.
But it wasn’t happening.
Sooo, I decided to share some fun-facts I came across that’ll at least help you lean more toward the love side of that conflicted brain relationship.
- The average adult brain weighs just shy of three pounds. Some neurosurgeons describe the texture of living brain as that of toothpaste, but according to neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik, a better analogy is tofu – the soft variety. Oh, and if you were to blend-up all of the contents of the cranium (really?), it would come to about 1.7 liters.
- It was thought that once we hit adulthood, our brains lose all ability to form new neural connections (plasticity). Not so. And that’s hopeful news to anyone wrestling with a mood or anxiety disorder. And let’s not forget about neurogenesis.
- Given our brains are 73% water, hydration is huge. And it takes only 2% dehydration to impact attention, memory, and other cognitive skills. BTW, 90 minutes of sweating can temporarily shrink our brains as much as one year of aging.
- Who knows for sure, but it’s believed our brains contain some 86 billion cells. Each neuron can transmit 1,000 nerve impulses per second and make tens of thousands of synaptic contacts. So a piece of brain tissue the size of a grain of sand contains 100,000 neurons – and participates in 1 billion synapses.
- Brain info travels up to 268 mph. And our brains generate 12-25 watts of electricity – enough to power a low-wattage LED light.
- The average brain is believed to generate up to 50,000 thoughts per day (being the king of obsessions, I can buy that).
- Every single minute, 75-100 milliliters of blood flows through our brains. As in enough to fill a bottle of vino or a liter bottle of pop. And that blood flows through 400 miles of vessels.
- The hippocampus (the brain’s memory center) is significantly larger in London cab drivers – all due to mental workout, as they navigate 25,000 streets.
- Technology has forced us into excessive multitasking. In spite of what we may think, our brains can’t learn or concentrate on two things at once. Nope, they toggle back and forth between tasks. And that decreases our attention span, ability to learn, short-term memory, and overall mental performance.
- Brain cells cannibalize themselves as a last ditch source of energy to ward off starvation. That means in very real ways, dieting, especially low-fat diets, can force our brains to eat themselves.
- Relying upon GPS to navigate destroys our innate sense of direction. Fact is, when areas of the brain are no longer used, the neural connections go bye-bye via a process known as synaptic pruning.
- The myth that we only use 10% of our brains is flat-out wrong. Brain scans clearly show that we use most of our brains most of the time – even when we’re sleeping.
- Our brains start to slow down at age 24 (rats, I’m cooked), but peak for assorted cognitive skills at different ages. So at any given age, we’re likely getting better at some things and worse at others. Vocabulary skills? Seems they may peak in the early-70s.
- Albert Einstein’s brain weighed 2.71 pounds, 10% smaller than average. However, the neuron density of his brain was greater than average.
- Typically, our diets are low in omega-3 fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3s result in brain shrinkage equivalent to two years of structural brain aging. So keep on tolerating those fish burps.
Let’s Wrap It Up
So what do you think? Cool stuff, huh. And believe me, I could have listed scores more.
Look, I more than get it. That three pound mass in our craniums can wreak all sorts of havoc for someone struggling with a mood or anxiety disorder. And as a sufferer and counselor, I hate that.
Still, the design and work of our brains are stunning.
And maybe, just maybe, the debunked myth that a mood or anxiety disorder can’t be cured will one day appear on a brain facts list – soon…
Would you like to read more Chipur mood and anxiety disorder-related articles? I’d sure like you to, so check-out the titles.