Human Brain

Presentation held at English Communication Club (www.encc.ru), 2010

Contents

Interesting facts about Human Brain
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Introduction Fundamental features of human brain Energy consumption Violation of day regimen might harm memory Excessive noise and mental concentration Are action games useful? Center for humor in human brain Sing songs for your own benefit! Why sunlight causes sneezing? Yawning helps to wake up Brain development IQ tests Brain understands men easier than women

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Ways of improving brain productivity Efficient way to learn something new

Introduction

Unfortunately, scientists still do not know what the human brain exactly is. Of cause, there were conducted hundreds and thousands of studies of human brain structure and substance, but the process of thinking is still the enigma to all. There is very fascinating suggestion regarding such features of human brain as consciousness and self-examination, stating that these features are unexpected consequences of unity of multitude of neurons; something similar to avalanches which are unexpected consequence of unity of multitude of grains of sand. If it’s true, evolution of nervous systems approaches the turning point where ‘greater’ turns into ‘different’.

Fundamental features of human brain

The human brain contains more than 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) neurons. This is more than 16 times greater than human population on the Earth. Each neuron is connected with more than 10,000 of other neurons. By transmitting of nerve impulses, neurons ensure continuous work of brain. Nerve impulses can travel at 120 meters/second. Toward the older age this velocity gradually decreases up to 15%. Every minute through the brain flow 750 ml of blood (1520% of total blood flow in human body). Some neurons are over a meter long. When areas of the brain are damaged, other areas can actually take over the job of the damaged area.





Energy consumption

Human brain during wakefulness consumes 25 Watts of energy. This amount of energy enough to light small light bulb. Although brain weighs only 2-3% of total body mass, it consumes 20% of energy generated by our body. This energy supports normal work of brain and transmission of neural signals.

Violation of day regimen might harm memory

Constant changes or violations of day regimen harm health of brain. For instance, frequently flying from one time zone to another people (politicians, businessmen) risk to damage their brains irreparably.

Excessive noise and mental concentration

Why can’t we concentrate on telephone conversation in noisy environment? It is scientifically proven fact that human brain is unable to concentrate on something mentally difficult if there is distracting noise. The proven way to solve that problem is to close another ear(s) by hand(s).  Also you will greatly increase the efficiency of your studies by doing them in right time (not too late) and in right place (calm, noiseless and sufficiently lighted).

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Are action games useful?
Action games are useful. Why? Because during playing “kill em all” computer games you need to pay attention to and concentrate on multiple factors simultaneously. This is just what our brains need. It is worth to note that Tetris will not help you as much as will action game just because Tetris is much easier to handle than any of ‘multi factorial’ games. Undoubtedly, there are serious issues regarding the influence of ‘bloody’ action games on children psychology. One of the possible approaches is to find something like arcade stylized games.
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Center for humor in human brain

Psychologists discovered the fact that the laugh is the consequence of illogical structure of joke. While listening to the humorous story, our brain unconsciously develops the continuation of this story. Joke usually ends in absolutely illogical manner, causing our brain to stop for a several milliseconds at this surprise. Then we start to realize the paradox and to laugh at the joke. This fact has a medical confirmation. Some of patients with injured frontal lobe of brain can’t understand humor at all. They are just unable physically to process information in normal order.

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Sing songs for your own benefit!

It might seems strange, but silly songs which sometimes we can’t get rid off, help our brain. As the specialists think, this songs, consisting of simple word chains, give a chance to develop our brain even further, due to associations that brain has to analyze. It is semi-unconscious process; that’s why it almost always can’t be controlled. However, you can interrupt the chain by principle ‘one nail drives out another’.

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Why sunlight causes sneezing?
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Sneezing (eng.) – чихание (рус.) Sunlight rays, falling into the nose, irritate certain centers of brain. Signals from these centers go to a special brain zone which is called ‘lateral medulla’. This zone is responsible for such important function as sneezing.

Yawning helps to wake up
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Yawning (eng.) – зевание (рус.) Despite the common association of yawning with sleepiness, actually yawning helps us to wake up. During yawning large volumes of air circulate in our lungs, enriching blood with oxygen. Enriched blood helps our organism to get rid off the various waste products and it starts to work more actively. Of cause, it’s impossible to substitute healthy dream with only yawning, but light sleepiness will get away.

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Brain development

Like muscles, brain develops with the proper training. The average weigh of adult male’s brain is 1,424 g. Towards old age average weigh decreases to 1,395 g. The heaviest female’s brain weigh is 1,565 g. Record weigh of male’s brain — 2049 g. Human brain evolves – in 1860 average weight of male’s brain was 1,372 g. Minimal weigh of normal human brain (woman 31 y. old) is 1,096 g. Dinosaurs that was up to 9 meters long had brains of size similar to size of Circassian walnut and weigh of 70 g. The most rapid developments of brain occur in the period between 2 and 11 years. The best way to train and develop brain is to perform previously unfamiliar activity. Another one is communication with someone who is more intellectual than you.




IQ tests

The record IQ test score (228) possess Marilyn vos Savant (USA, Missouri). This achievement was recorded in Guinness World Records book. She is the member of such privileged societies as Mensa International and Mega Society.

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The highest average national IQ is 111 (Japanese). 10% of Japanese have IQ greater than 130. It is worth to note that the IQ test isn’t reliable measure of neither true intellectual level nor business abilities. In fact, as Marilyn vos Savant agrees, human intellect is too broad and versatile to be measured reliably by any of existing tests.


Brain understands men easier than women
Men and women voices influence different brain zones. Women voice usually is more musical, sounds at higher frequencies; range of frequencies is broader than that of men voice. Therefore, human brain needs to decipher the meaning of women speech (with additional difficulties). By the way, those people who suffer from delusions, more often hear voice(s) of men.

Ways of improving brain productivity (part 1)

1. Sleep. Enough said. Lack of sleep results in dismal performance, not to mention a weakening of the immune system. Get into a good sleep routine and tack on a few extra hours on the weekends. 2. Eat properly. Our bodies are much more sophisticated than the best Ferrari on the market. Would you put cheap, low grade 87 octane into a Ferrari engine? Definitely not. Likewise, fuel your body with the best foods you can: fish loaded with Omega 3 fat acids for increased memory, garlic for immune system boost and pure energy. 3. Take multivitamins. These potent antioxidants work wonders for the various organs. 4. Start an exercise routine. Walk, jog, cycle, swim, lift weights, whatever suits your fancy. The key is to get your blood circulating so all these vitamins can work their way to the brain and the cells in order to be utilized most efficiently. Exercising a few times a week also aids in better sleep and builds self esteem. Try starting the morning off with a 20 minute jog and watch how much better you feel! 5. Drink green tea. For over 4,000 years the Chinese have been drinking green tea as both a medicinal healer and health enhancer. Green tea contains ECGC, one of the most powerful antioxidants known (recently published in the Harvard Medical Association Journal) which wards off certain cancers and keeps blood pressure low.





Ways of improving brain productivity (part 2)

6. Take a hot bath. A bath relaxes the muscles and relieves the sinuses preparing you for a deeper, more relaxing sleep. 7. Get some sunlight. No, you don`t need to go sunbathing all day, however it is beneficial to get away from your PC every now and then for a walk in the park or hike up a local mountain. Sunlight triggers the increased production of the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin - which, as well as controlling your sleep patterns, body temperature, and drive, lifts your mood and helps ward off depression. 8. Drink plenty of water. Our brain contains 75% of water, so you need to drink enough in order to support water balance. 9. Scientists discovered that the more educated is person, the healthier is his or her brain. Intellectual activity stimulates brain and saves it from diseases. These are just personal recommendations. Everybody is different so through trial and error, see what works best for you. One thing is certain: a healthy body maintains a healthy mind, and a healthy mind results in better performance when you need it most.





Efficient way to learn something new

If you need to accomplish some really challenging task, e.g. to prepare to a difficult exam or test, consider the following points: 1. Consider it marathon, not sprint. For instance, 10 hours a week is almost always optimal workload. By studying 5 hours a day and working full time you will burn out yourself with such consequences as lost of motivation and giving up your studies. 2. It is much better to study 90 minutes a day than take long study sessions on weekend. 3. For better memorizing consider drawing mind maps and creating your own list of important concepts and formulas. 4. Use moderate physical exercises as the means of relaxing stress and boosting energy. 5. The night before the test, do something relaxing and get to bed early. Watch a movie, read a book, go out with family or friends. And don’t touch any study materials! Last-minute cramming will only stress you out further, and it’s a waste of time anyway, because if you haven’t internalized the info by the night before the test, you certainly won’t internalize it by the next morning.