The brain, our most important organ never takes a day off. Even when we are asleep, our brain is still working to keep us alive. During sleep, it is also recuperating through our dreams, sorting through the previous day's activities. Contrary to what you may have read or heard, the brain is soft and pink. It turns grey when it is taken from the body. And unlike other organs, it cannot be transplanted.
There are so many facts about the brain that are still unknown that the known facts are few in number by comparison. But the facts that scientists have discovered are fascinating.
The brain has begun to develop by the time the unborn baby is about four weeks along in its growth. In every hour that passes, 15,000,000 neurons are formed and this work continues for twenty four hours a day, all orchestrated with pinpoint accuracy. New neuron growth can continue even into old age as neurons die.
The brain controls the CNS and the PNS: the central and peripheral nervous systems. Our breathing, heart rate and other automatic responses are controlled by our brains. Messages are sent along neural pathways from the brain to all parts of our body, first along the spine and then outward to body organs, limbs, skin and otherwise.
Not only are physical functions controlled and regulated by the brain, but our emotions are generated therein. When we laugh, our brain is involved. Scientists are studying the very fact of laughter to find out why we laugh or don't. Crying too is under study.
The brain has three major parts. Animal brains may be similar, but the human brain is different in many aspects. The size of the human brain is larger relevant to body size than in animals. For instance, in elephants, the size of their brain is smaller than a human's brain would be if the human were as large as the elephant.
Another differences is language. A newborn baby, for instance, begins right away to know the difference between its mother's voice and that of other humans that speak to it. This is true even before birth. And why do we all, the world over, man and woman, speak to a baby in a high-pitched, sing-song voice? Because that is the language a baby needs and understands. That is an amazing fact about the human brain.
And when it comes to speech, the adult uses a specialized part of the brain, whereas the newborn, the young child, uses the entire brain. A baby can learn several languages at the same time. This is more difficult for the adult.
Because the brain is so much in charge of the human body, when something goes awry, the entire body may be affected. Seizures are a health problem that many deal with on a daily basis. There are more than one kind of seizure and each may require its own treatment. In some cases, medicine will control the seizure. In other cases, a portion of the brain may have to be removed by surgery.
When the brain is asleep or awake, it emits waves that can be measured by an EEG. The ordinary adult does not have Theta waves. This is a wave length in the brain of children and those with brain damage. And Delta waves are present during sleep. I know of one adult that has Theta waves without medical documentation of injury and Delta waves while awake. Neither of these have been explained to the patient. So not everything is known about even what some might say are simple facts about the human brain.
A teenager's brain is different from a small child's but unlike that of an adult. Studies into the teenager's brain are yielding some interesting facts. The young brain is not really mature until about the age of twenty five. This might explain why adolescents have so many issues, both emotional and physical.
Infections can also affect the brain. One such is Bell's Palsy. This disease causes temporary paralysis of one side of the face. The scars of this can be seen during an EEG.
There are many more facts about the brain than can be told in a short article. As man and woman continue to study, there will be ever-increasing facts discovered. In the meantime, if the reader would like more information on the facts I have discussed, an article on the Internet, from PBS, is entitled "The Secret Life of the Brain." This is just one of many scientists have offered on this fascinating topic.