The brain is an astounding organ of human body and always baffled scientists with its complexity. It has been evolving from millions of years, so it’s no wonder that there are so many awesome facts about the brain that we know, and so much about it we don’t. If you have a keen interest in neurobiology and psychology (and everyone should), these facts are a must-read.
1. While we sleep, cerebral spinal fluid flows through the brain on the outside of blood vessels, and removes brain cell waste in the process. This includes removing amyloid beta protein, which is associated with Alzheimer’s.
Sleep deprivation also has a number of negative effects and can impair judgment and slow reaction times. (source)
2. Our brain’s continue developing into our late 40’s.
Brain scans have demonstrated that the prefrontal cortex continues to change shape into our 30’s and 40’s and plays a role in decision making, social interaction, and a variety of other personality traits. As a side note, we have more brain cells as a newborn baby than we will ever have again.(source)
3. Music is one of very few activities that makes use of the entire brain.
A study led by Dr. Vinoo Alluri from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland reveals how wide networks in the brain are activated while we listen to music. This includes the areas responsible for motor actions, emotions and creativity.(source)
4. Our brains actually have a negativity bias and will remember bad memories more often than good ones.
Research has shown that (even of equal intensity) experiences of a negative nature will have a greater effect on our psychological state and processes than neutral or positive experiences. There are many possible explanations and reasons for this, although perhaps by remembering more negative experiences we can learn from them and adapt.(source)
5. The brain uses 20% of the total oxygen and blood in our bodies.
Despite the brain’s relatively small size compared to the rest of our body (usually 2% of our total body weight), it accounts for 20% of the oxygen and calories consumed by the body. Perhaps this gives a more literal meaning to the phrase “food for thought”.(source)
6. A scientific study has suggested that an alcohol level of 0.075% results in people being at their more creative.
Known as the “creative peak” by researchers at the University of Illinois, research has demonstrated that the average man produces the most creative thinking with an alcohol level of 0.075%. To capitalize on this new found information, creative advertising agency CP+B Copenhagen have developed a beer called The Problem Solver which will help people reach the magical alcohol level precisely.(source)
7. Studies have proven that months of exposure to stress can destroy neurons in the brain permanently, which affects learning, memory, reasoning and impulse control.
Stress literally kills your brain, in addition to having severely negative effects on the rest of your body. When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol which can kill, shrink and stop the generation of new neurons in the part of the brain called the hippocampus. Next time you feel stressed out, reading can reduce stress by 68% – more than listening to music or taking a walk.(source)
8. After just 8 weeks of meditation, the amygdala, which is associated with emotion and fear, shrinks. Additionally, the pre-frontal cortex associated with concentration, awareness and decision making becomes thicker.
It has long been accepted that there are a variety of health benefits (both biological and psychological) associated with meditation. However, recent MRI scans after an 8 week course of meditation has shown tangible evidence. The scale of the changes in the areas of the brain correlate directly with the number of hours of meditation practice.(source)