The human brain is undoubtedly one of the most intricate and dazzling masterpieces of evolution. We often laud its more known capabilities, like memory retention or problem-solving. Yet, like any treasure trove, there is always more to discover. Ever feel like diving into the deep end of cerebral trivia? Well, here is your chance!
Let’s uncover some off-the-beaten-path facts about our noggin that you probably have not stumbled upon yet.
The 75% of the Human Brain is Water!
Most of us know our brains are predominantly water. But here is a quirky spin. The brain weighs about three pounds, and a whopping 75% of that is water!
But here is where things get wild. Not only does it play lifeguard to all that water. But within that space, it is also simultaneously juggling an estimated 70,000 thoughts daily. Talk about multitasking and our brains have it!
Those Brain Wrinkles Carry A Mystery
Those iconic wrinkles and grooves that make the brain look like a walnut? They are not just for show. These folds, scientifically called gyri and sulci, increase the brain’s surface area. This means we can cram in more cerebral cortex, which plays a huge role in memory, attention, thought, and consciousness.
So, those wrinkles are not just aesthetically riveting. They are practically giving us more bang for our buck.
A Baby’s Brain Grows Incredibly Rapidly
Newborns are bundles of jo and neurons. A baby's brain grows incredibly rapidly. By the time they hit their first birthday, their brain has doubled in size. And by the age of two? It is about 80% the size of an adult brain. This speedy growth is why those early years are so crucial for learning and development.
So, what about that infant constantly ogling at his smartphone? They are doing some seriously heavy intellectual lifting.
Our Neurons are the Non-Conformists of the Cellular World
Most cells in the human body regenerate, but many of our brain’s neurons are with us for the long haul. While it was once believed that we are born with a finite number of neurons, recent research suggests that certain parts of the brain can generate new ones, a process known as neurogenesis.
Still, a good chunk of our neurons set up shop early in our lives and stick around, witnessing every memory, decision, and episode of that show you binge-watched last weekend.
White Matter is the Unsung Hero
When people chat about the brain, gray matter (the home of the neurons) gets most of the limelight. But let's hear it for white matter! This tissue, named for its pale appearance, contains nerve fibers that transmit signals between different parts of the brain.
Imagine it as the brain's internal internet, ensuring different sections communicate effectively. Without white matter, we would be a lot less coordinated in both thought and action.
Your Brain is Awake During Dreams
We spend roughly six years of our lives dreaming. Yes, you read that right! But here is the catch: Most of these dreams, about 95% of them, are forgotten by the time we roll out of bed.
Scientists still are not sure why we dream. However, theories range from memory consolidation to emotional regulation. So, even if you can not recall that wild dream about flying over a city made of marshmallows, rest assured your brain was up to something important.