There’s so much to consider about the brain…

Here’s 12 more items:


According to National Geographic:


(1)  “The brain’s many regions are connected by 100,000 miles of fibers called white matter–enough to circle the Earth four times¹.”


That’s from one single human brain…


For more use the DOOR.



   It’s not necessary, but if you haven’t seen it, you might want to read the previous post first. When you enter the brain, you’re entering a very small, small–very precise–mysterious world. Below is some info–some from National Geographic, some from several other sources including our own generalizations and inference. We will resist footnoting everything. Consider this a “softer” set of facts…

   (2)  We’ve said that the 3-pound human brain contains 100,000,000,000 (or 100 billion) neurons with perhaps 100 trillion linkages that carry electric charges to other neurons or nerves. These charges or impulses enable us to move, to do things, to think.

   (3)  Your brain has many precise electrical linkages. For perspective, there are about 15,000 neural linkages in one brain for each person presently living on Earth.

   (4)  From personal experience with ordinary electrical connections, we see that circuits (using wires, for example) can be broken, or if the wires aren’t properly wrapped, or insulated, they can short out. If your circuit goes to a table lamp and a wire is broken, it’s impossible to light the lamp. It could cause the wire to do bad things like start a fire. On a micro level, your brain seems to pretty much avoid troubles like that.

   (5)  “When you form a memory, ‘there’s a physical change in the brain,’ says Don Arnold of the Univ. of Southern California.” NG

   (6)  “Caltech and UCLA scientists use pictures of celebrities to process what the eyes see. In 2005 they found an individual nerve cell that fired only when subjects were shown pictures of Jennifer Aniston. Another neuron responded only to pictures of Halle Berry–even when she was masked as Catwoman.” NG

   (7)  How can that kind of research get done? When research on an epileptic patient indicated an area in the brain that caused the disease, one neurosurgeon had a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on neurons functioning normally. This led to the discovery of nerve cells that respond to specific faces. NG

   (8)  Much research, however, seems to involve taking tissue from slices of rat brains.

   (9)  Where did the “100 billion” number of human neurons come from? Nobody seems to know! Some new research that made “brain soup” out of some available discarded brains–one study used 4–indicated the number was closer to 86 billion. So that number is being passed around by some.

   (10)  One study took 200 sections of a piece of mouse brain–each 1/1000 the thickness of a piece of human hair and readied them to be seen with an electron microscope. From this, 10,000 photomicrographs were taken that formed a 3-D model no larger than a grain of salt. “A human brain visualized at this level of detail would require an amount of data equal to all the written material in all the libraries of the world.” (We’re not sure just what this means.) NG

   (11)  Some science folks have suggested that the number of neurons in a human brain equals approximately the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, estimated to be 100 billion, and the number of galaxies in the universe which, again, is estimated to be 100 billion–believe it or not! Ask Google these questions on your smart phone and you’ll see I’m not fooling! This is standard stuff. Of course, a few will push this figure up or down for various reasons.

    (12)  Neuroscience has made some significant strides forward in many useful, though general, ways. If someone sticks someone else in the butt with a pitchfork, the path of pain and the response it draws can be traced along neural pathways in known regions of the brain. But why a person would do that remains a mystery as is how the person forked would feel afterwards. And, months later, the reactions and/or feelings of guilt and/or revenge about this act would vary according to one’s personal ethics–developed in a lifetime of ways neuroscience can not wrap itself around–so far. One has to look beyond the physical brain to uncover that sort of thing.

   As well as the reasons we wrote this last paragraph.


   ¹from “Secrets of the Brain,” National Geographic Feb. 2014.