Fascinating Facts About the Human Brain

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The human brain has amazed and baffled people throughout the ages. Some scientists and researchers have devoted their entire lives to learning how the brain works. Here are some facts that you probably did not know about your brain.

Fascinating Facts About the Human Brain

The Developing Brain

  • At birth, your brain was almost the same size as an adult brain and contained most of the brain cells for your whole life.
  • A newborn baby’s brain grows about three times its size in the first year.
  • The first sense to develop while in utero is the sense of touch. The lips and cheeks can experience touch at about 8 weeks and the rest of the body around 12 weeks.
  • Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.

Psychology of Your Brain

  • You can’t tickle yourself because your brain distinguishes between unexpected external touch and your own touch.
  • There is a class of people known as supertasters who not only have more taste buds on their tongue, but whose brain is more sensitive to the tastes of foods and drinks. In fact, they can detect some flavors that others cannot.
  • The connection between body and mind is a strong one. One estimate is that between 50-70 percent of visits to the doctor for physical ailments are attributed to psychological factors.

Memory

  • Every time you recall a memory or have a new thought, you are creating a new connection in your brain.
  • Memories triggered by scent have a stronger emotional connection, and therefore appear more intense than other memory triggers.
  • While you sleep at night may be the best time for your brain to consolidate all your memories from the day. Lack of sleep may actually hurt your ability to create new memories.

Brain Function

  • Your brain uses 20 percent of the total oxygen in your body.
  • If your brain loses blood for 8 to 10 seconds, you will lose consciousness.
  • While awake, your brain generates between 10 and 23 watts of power — or enough energy to power a light bulb.
  • The old adage of humans only using 10% of their brain is not true. Every part of the brain has a known function.
  • The brain can live for 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen, and then it begins to die. No oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes will result in permanent brain damage.
  • A study of 1 million students in New York showed that students who ate lunches that did not include artificial flavors, preservatives, and dyes did 14 percent better on IQ tests than students who ate lunches with these additives.

Dreams and Sleep

  • Most people dream about 1-2 hours a night and have an average of 4-7 dreams each night.
  • Studies show that brain waves are more active while dreaming than when you are awake.
  • Some people (about 12 percent) dream only in black and white while others dream in color.
  • While you sleep, your body produces a hormone that may prevent you from acting out your dreams, leaving you virtually paralyzed.