Showing posts with label Brain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brain. Show all posts

Jul 11, 2014

Sports Drinks

A study found that sports drinks work because they activate the pleasure center of your brain. You don't even have to drink them, just swishing some around in your mouth and spitting it out has the same effect.

The carbohydrates in the drink stimulate receptors in your mouth that then send your brain messages that things are all great. Your brain then becomes more active in the pleasure center, allowing you to enjoy feeling the burn longer than someone without a sugary drink.

May 30, 2014

Eight Interesting Body Facts

More germs are transferred shaking hands than kissing.

The aorta, the largest artery in the body, is almost the diameter of a garden hose.

Capillaries are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.

Your body has about 6 quarts (5.6 Liters) of blood. It circulates through the body three times every minute.

The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime.

The human body can function without a brain (although not long).

Humans are the only primates that do not have pigment in the palms of their hands

A mans testicles manufacture 10 million new sperm cells each day, enough to repopulate the entire planet in 6 months.

May 16, 2014

Brain Cell Myths Debunked

Brain cells can’t regenerate is an old myth. Also drinking kills brain cells is an old myth.

The reason for the regeneration myth is that it was believed and taught by the science community for a long time. In 1998, scientists at the Sweden and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California discovered that brain cells in mature humans can regenerate. It had previously been long believed that complex brains would be severely disrupted by new cell growth, but the study found that the memory and learning center of the brain can create new cells.

Even in alcoholics, alcohol use does not actually result in the death of brain cells. It may temporarily damage the ends of neurons, called dendrites. This results in problems conveying messages between the neurons. The cell is not damaged, but the way that it communicates with others is temporarily altered.

Scientific medical research has actually demonstrated that the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better thinking and reasoning skills and memory than is abstaining from alcohol. Moderate drinking helps the brain function better into old age.

May 14, 2013

More About Laughter

Every time someone laughs around us, our brains must interpret what it means. As German scientists have discovered, it is more complex than we thought.

A joyful belly laugh is interpreted by the brain in a completely different way from a scornful titter or the giggle from someone being tickled, a group of scientists from Tübingen in south west Germany have found.

In experiments designed to help patients with chronic anxiety disorders, they found that positive non-verbal communication, such as a joyful laugh was processed by a different part of the brain from a negative, scornful snicker.

Laughing is one of the oldest forms of non-verbal communication and is also seen in rats and apes. It could be key to helping patients with psychiatric disorders, who often are unable to correctly interpret non-verbal communication.

Humans have developed several different forms of laughter, each of which can have a complex series of meanings and intentions behind them. “Laughing is a very strong signal in social interaction. If you are laughed at with joy you feel accepted. If you are the victim of scornful laughter, you feel shut out of the group,“ said Dr. Dirk Wildgruber.

In their experiments, Wildgruber and his team played various types of recorded laughter and measured how the sounds were interpreted in the brain. They found that giggles generated when someone is being tickled stimulates areas of the brain responsible for interpreting complex acoustic signals. Happy or scornful laughter, on the other hand, stimulates completely separate brain regions usually tasked with guessing the intentions of others. From there, the laughter kick-starts connections with different parts of the brain depending on the tone - negative or positive.

The next step will be to look into how people with psychological disturbances react to different laughter signals to find out which areas of the brain could be artificially stimulated to help them, said Wildgruber.

Mar 29, 2013

Another Ten Interesting Facts About Humans


  1. Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day. Am glad I have not grown up.
  2. Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
  3. The human heart creates enough pressure while pumping to squirt blood 30 feet.
  4. The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb. Your brain generates as much energy as a small light bulb even when you are sleeping.
  5. The brain is much more active at night than during the day.
  6. The brain itself cannot feel pain. The brain might be the pain center when you cut your finger or burn yourself, but the brain itself does not have pain receptors.
  7. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger and the nail on the middle finger of your dominant hand will grow the fastest of all. Nail growth is related to the length of the finger, with the longest fingers growing nails the fastest and shortest the slowest.
  8. The lifespan of a human hair is 3 to 7 years on average.
  9. Human hair is virtually indestructible. Aside from it’s flammability, human hair decays at such a slow rate that it is practically non-disintegrative. Hair cannot be destroyed by cold, change of climate, water, or other natural forces and it is resistant to many kinds of acids and corrosive chemicals.
  10. The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razorblades. Hydrochloric acid, the type found in your stomach, is not only good at dissolving pizza, but can also eat through many types of metal.

Feb 12, 2013

Describing Brains

This five minute video is a humorous look at the differences between male and female brains. A fun diversion. LINK

May 31, 2011

Alcohol Does Not Kill Brain Cells

Time to debunk another popular myth. Research has shown that the quantity of alcohol you could possibly take in, without killing yourself, does not introduce enough alcohol into your bloodstream to kill brain cells. This was proven by a study by Grethe Jensen and co. in 1993. They meticulously counted neurons in matched samples of non-alcoholics and alcoholics.  They found no real difference in the density or overall number of neurons between the two groups.  Other research has backed up those findings. 

According to a study done at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Italy, 29% of people 65 years or older who almost never drank alcohol throughout their life had mental impairment issues. About 19% of people 65 years or older who drank moderate amounts of alcohol regularly had any mental impairment. It was further discovered that, among the various groups where other problems might impair them mentally, the same trend appeared. In every group, those who drank moderately on a regular basis throughout their lives always had a less chance of becoming mentally impaired in their old age compared to those who didn’t drink at all or almost never drank.

Scientists also once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was fixed. They have now discovered that new neurons are continuously created in the adult brain.

There are other side effects of alcohol on your brain, such as developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by: confusion, coordination problems, hallucinations, memory problems, eye problems, and even inducing a coma or death, if left untreated.  Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time causes a vitamin B1 deficiency, because alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb thiamine.

Jan 7, 2011

Brain Stuff

The Ten Habits of Highly Effec­tive Brains

   1. Learn the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty.
   2. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but con­sumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake?
   3. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis.
   4. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way.
   5. Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. Chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities.
   6. We are the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, no mat­ter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
   7. Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment.
   8. Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain.
   9. Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion.
  10. Laugh Often. Espe­cially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises.

Aug 31, 2010

Brain Myth Debunked

Many still believe that we only use about 10 percent of our brains, even after science has proven otherwise.

Many sources of this misinformation appear to point to an American psychologist of the early 1900s named William James, who said, "the average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential." The media has long perpetuated that into "only using 10 percent of our brain".

In addition to those 100 billion neurons, the brain is also full of other types of cells that are continually in use. We can become disabled from damage to just small areas of the brain depending on where it's located, so there is no way that we could function with only 10 percent of our brain in use.

Brain scans have shown that no matter what we are doing, our brains are always active. Some areas are more active at any one time than others, but unless we have brain damage, there is no one part of the brain that is absolutely not functioning. Here is an example. If you are sitting at a table and eating a sandwich, you are not actively using your feet. You are concentrating on bringing the sandwich to your mouth, chewing and swallowing it. But that doesn't mean that your feet aren't working -- there is still activity in them, such as blood flow, even when you are not actually moving them. Also true - alcohol does not really kill brain cells.

Jan 29, 2010

Older Brains and Remembering

A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.

Other research has already shown that aging is associated with a decreased ability to tune out irrelevant information. The current study showed that older brains are less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains and can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together to use this knowledge for subsequent memory tasks.

The older adults showed a 30% advantage over younger adults in their memory. Because this type of knowledge is thought to play a critical role in real world decision-making, older adults may be the wiser decision-makers compared to younger adults because they picked up so much more information. I knew that.