The human brain is a “complex machine” essential for the proper functioning of the entire body. It is for this reason that it generates a great deal of intrigue and has prompted multiple investigations to learn more about it.
Despite having knowledge of most of the brain’s functions and structures, research is still in progress, research does not cease since, given its complexity, there is still knowledge to be discovered.. It is fascinating how this organ allows us to be who we are, it allows us to perform basic functions such as breathing or the beating of the heart and other more complex ones that distinguish us from other living beings such as having feelings or reasoning. If you want to know the best curious facts about our brain, read on.
The fascinating human brain: the most curious and shocking data
Discoveries about the structure and functioning of the human brain never cease to amaze. How many neurons constitute it, what is its main component, how fast does it work, what is its capacity… these are some of the many questions that arise. In this article we give you 20 facts about our brain that will surely not leave you indifferent.
1. The human brain does not feel pain
It seems incredible, but it is true. The brain does not feel pain, that is to say, if we make a cut with a scalpel directly in the brain it would not hurt, since it is the only organ of the human body that does not have pain receptors. Paradoxically, it is in charge of processing the signals coming from other parts of the organism and generating the sensation of pain..
2. The brain is composed of 75% water
It is estimated that the human body is made up of 60% water, therefore the brain will not be less and also reaches percentages of up to 75% water composition. Thus, keeping hydrated is important for a good development and functioning of the brain.
3. Weighs 1,500 grams
Approximately it is considered that the adult human brain weighs one kilo and five hundred grams, being only 2% of the total body weight. We are not born with this size of brain, but its weight increases progressively, it is estimated that on average the brain of a newborn weighs about 350 grams, reaching 900 grams at two years of age. Another remarkable point is that weight does not influence intelligence; there are other variables that are more important, such as the number of neuronal connections.
4. It is made up of 100,000 million neurons.
To give you a better idea and to make it more visual, the human brain is made up of about 100,000,000,000,000 neurons. If this quantity already surprises you, you must take into account that the number of synapses, that is to say, of connections between neurons, is even higher as they can establish more than one connection between them at a time.
5. It is estimated that it consumes about 350 kilocalories per day.
It is considered that on average the human body consumes between 1,200 and 1,400 kilocalories per day, if the brain needs approximately 350 kilocalories to function then it spends 20% of the daily energy consumption. This expenditure, close to a quarter, is proportionally high if we take into account that the brain represents only 2% of the body weight.
6. The brain is capable of producing new neurons
Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are created, for example the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain mainly related to memory, is capable of producing about 1,400 new neurons each year..
7. It is made up of a high amount of fat
Apart from the high percentage of water that makes up the human brain, the other major component is fatty tissue. This fact is due to an insulating layer that covers some neurons, called myelin sheath, which is mainly made up of fat and has the function of helping the electrical potentials of these to be transmitted faster through the axon (part of the neuron).
8. The brain consumes itself if we do not give it food.
It has been observed that if we go on very restrictive diets where the amount of energy that we provide to the body is not enough, the cells of our brain begin to consume themselves if we do not give it food, the cells of our brain begin to consume small parts of themselves in order to subsist..
9. We use 100% of our brain
It is completely false that we only use 10% of our brain as is popularly said. On the contrary, our brain is so complex because it is capable of using 100% of its capacity, emphasizing that it does so permanently, i.e., the brain never stops working, not even when we sleep.
10. Only 15% of brain cells are neurons.
After knowing the amount of neurons that form the brain we could think that these cells are the ones that are present in greater quantity in the brain, but this is not so, there is another type of brain cells called glial cells, whose main function is to support the neurons, which can exceed 5 to 10 times the amount of neurons in the brain. can exceed 5 to 10 times the number of neurons.The glial cells are considered 85% of the encephalon.
11. Brain plasticity
Brain plasticity is the brain’s capacity to restructure and recover, thus being able to recover from disorders and injuries. This fact was verified in subjects who, after losing part of their brain mass, were able to continue living in a functional way thanks to the fact that other parts of the brain acquire the abilities of the affected areas.
12. The brain generates two copies of each memory
Thus, it has been observed that the brain in the process of memorizing creates two memories, one is stored in the prefrontal cortex, located in the front part of the organ, and a second memory in the subiculum located in the lower part of the hippocampal formation. After some time, when the memory is no longer used, only the copy of the memory prevails in the prefrontal cortex, which is the one that gives rise to long-term memory..
13. We lose neuronal connections
When we get older the number of neural connections decreases, this fact is not alarming because as we pointed out before we have a lot of connections, but we can observe a slowing down of some functions. This loss occurs in greater quantity in subjects with neurodegenerative pathology such as dementias, we must point out that if a neuron loses its connections it dies.
14. A brain injury can affect our personality.
A fact that confirms that personality, apart from the environmental influence, is also affected by the more biological part is that cases have been observed where a brain injury has led to changes in the personality of the subject. A very well known case is that of Phineas Gage Gage was able to recover from the injury but after the injury he showed a more disrespectful, irritable, capricious, impatient behavior, was easily frustrated and had difficulty persisting to achieve his goals.
15. The brain is surrounded by fluid
The brain is not in direct contact with the skull, but is surrounded by fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid, which has the function of protecting the central nervous system from possible injuries.
16. The information in the brain travels at 360 km/h
In order to be able to respond and act in time to the different stimuli that are presented to us, it is necessary that our brain sends the information at high speed. We observe how after a thought arises, the action appears quickly, taking only milliseconds.
17. Its length can reach 1000 km
The brain is formed by folds, so that it occupies less space, but we know that if we could stretch the brain mass and put it in a straight line it would cover a distance of 1000 km.
18. A part of the cerebral cortex is exclusively dedicated to recognize faces
There is a part of the cerebral cortex known as the fusiform gyrus whose function allows us to recognize faces. The affectation of this function is called prosopagnosia, which consists of the impossibility of recognizing a known face, such as faces of relatives or even their own face, i.e., in a photograph they can perceive the face but they will not be able to identify that it is them.
19. There are 10,000 different types of neurons
As we have already pointed out, our brain is made up of many neurons, and these can be of different types. About 10,000 different types of neurons with different functions have been observed, two of the main ones are sensory, related to sensory perception, and motor neurons that allow voluntary movement.
20. Brain activity is influenced by sunlight.
The human brain has an endogenous clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is a region of the hypothalamus that has the main function of regulating circadian rhythms, which are cycles lasting 24 hours. The influence of sunlight occurs because this nucleus senses changes in brightness and according to these changes it secretes a hormone according to these it secretes a hormone called melatonin which will increase in quantity during the night, promoting sleep..