Your brain is an absolutely astounding piece of equipment. It’s responsible for nearly everything you do and over 70,000 thoughts a day. It’s the command center of your body, is incredibly complex, and it’s mysterious. We’re uncovering more and more information each day.
Here are 10 facts about the brain you probably didn’t know.
1. You Can Make New Brain Cells – Even if You’re 50 Years Old
Worried about bumping your head and losing too any brain cells? The good news is you can make new ones. There’s a gene called the BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that produces a protein that not only helps create new brain cells, but also assists in the maintaining your existing ones.
2. Improve Your Synapses, Improve Your Memory
Sure, study tricks can help you ace your next test. Your ability to retain memories has been shown to be linked to the strength and number of your synapses. The key to keeping them healthy? Exercise, reduce your stress, and challenge your brain every day.
3. Your Brain is an Energy Hog
Your brain uses approximately 20% of the calories you consume. Babies’ brains use about 50% of their glucose supply.
4. Your Brain is Not “Handed”
There is no such thing as “left-brained” or “right-brained”. Your brain hemispheres work together. In fact…
5. Removing Half Your Brain Won’t Change Your Personality
Drastic surgeries, like a hemispherectomy, are sometimes necessary to help relieve seizures in children. In the vast majority of these cases, the children’s memories and personalities develop normally. Some have even gone on to become incredibly successful in academics and one became a champion bowler. However, some motor control and vision decreases on the same side of the body that the brain was removed from.
6. Taking Breaks Increases Productivity
As counterintuitive as it seems, taking a nap, meditating, or even taking a nap in nature can help you get more work done. Be mindful though. The idea is to give your brain a short break and then get back to the task at hand, not to procrastinate until the very end.
7. Your Brain’s Storage
It’s estimated your brain can store up to 2.5 petabytes. That’s over 3 million hours of TV shows, or, more song lyrics than you could ever possibly hear. In other words, your brain will probably never be full.
8. How Memory Works
Memories are not like files stored in your computer. Instead, little pieces of each memory are stored all over your brain. Your brain fits these pieces together whenever you recall something. The more you access your memories and the stronger the connection to an emotional event or physical stimulus, the stronger the memory. However, memories can still change over time.
9. Music, Sex, and Eating
All three have an effect on the nucleus accumbens – the brain structure responsible for releasing dopamine. This is probably why even though music isn’t essential to the survival of our species (like eating and sex are) that it’s prevalent across the entire world and has been for so long.
10. Sleep Deprived Driving = Drunk Driving?
Some studies indicate that drowsy driving is just as bad as drunk driving. Driving while you’re tired can make you twice as likely to get into an accident because your judgement is impaired and your reaction time is slowed (if you fall asleep at the wheel, you can’t react at all). Besides, getting enough sleep each night has been associated with better memory, being happier overall, and increased productivity.
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