The brain may be an even more powerful computer than before thought — microscopic branches of brain cells that were once thought to basically serve as mere wiring may actually behave as minicomputers, researchers say.
The most powerful computer known is the brain. The human brain possesses about 100 billion neurons with roughly 1 quadrillion — 1 million billion — connections known as synapses wiring these cells together. Neurons each act as a relay station for electrical signals. The heart of each neuron is called the soma — a single thin cablelike fiber known as the axon that sticks out of the soma carries nerve signals away from the neuron, while many shorter branches called dendrites that project from the other end of the soma carry nerve signals to the neuron.
Your brain is an intelligent machine, with or without coffee adding some octane. These facts could help you impress fellow brainiacs or at least give you some cred at a neuroscience convention.
1. Your brain generates about 12-25 watts of electricity. This is enough to power a low wattage LED light bulb.
2. It's scientifically proven that even a small dose of power changes how a person's brain operates and diminishes empathy.
3. Alcohol doesn't make you forget anything. When you get blackout drunk, the brain temporarily loses the ability to create memories.
4. In raw data, our brains can compute 10 to the 13th and 10 to the 16th operations per second. This would be equal to more than one million times the people that there are on Earth. In essence and in theory, the human brain is capable of solving and computing problems much quicker than a computer.
5. The slowest speed information passes around your brain is approximately 260 MPH.
6. Brain surgery can be performed while the patient is awake with no pain or discomfort. The brain has no pain receptors and feels no pain.
7. Did you know that it is normal for your mind to wander? A joint study by Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found the parts of the brain that control 'task-unrelated thought' (such as daydreaming) are almost always active when the brain is at rest.
8. The brain of an adult human weighs around 3 pounds (1.5 kg). Although it makes up just 2% of the body's weight, it uses around 20% of its energy.
9. If you laid out all of the blood vessels in your brain end-to-end, they would stretch halfway to the moon (about 120,000 miles).
10. Feeling tired? Go ahead and yawn. Yawning cools down the brain, research suggests. Sleep deprivation raises brain temperature.
11. Frequent jet lag can damage memory. Stress hormones released during jet lag can damage the temporal lobe and memory.
12. Most scientists argue that there is no evidence that playing classical music to babies increases the power of their minds. However, children who learn to play a musical instrument can develop their mental skills further than those who don't learn a musical instrument.
13. Multitasking is actually impossible. When we think we're multitasking, we're actually context-switching. That is, we're quickly switching back-and-forth between different tasks, rather than doing them at the same time. The book Brain Rules explains how detrimental "multitasking" can be: Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things.
14. When the mind recalls a memory, it's not the original memory. In fact, the act of remembering is an act of creative re-imagination. The put-together memory doesn't just have a few holes; it also has some entirely new bits pasted in.
15. Reading aloud promotes brain development. It's indeed one of the strange facts about the brain because we usually teach our children to read and talk politely. But to promote brain development in your child, you should read and talk aloud in front of them.
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