Saturday, February 25, 2017

What matters is the gray and white matter inside your noggin.

Anyone who's watched the Wizard of Oz knows the scarecrow was short on shingles; all the bulbs were not lit in his chandelier; the elevator didn't go to the top floor... poor guy needed a brain.

There are a lot of people in political office, at all levels of government, who remind me of the scarecrow, and while I'm at it, let me add this, many also need a heart. But that is my expressed opinion, and I'll stop there and tell you about a time I held a human brain.

When I was in grade school, the science teacher posed a question: You cannot move from seats,  speak or do anything without (______?)  Of course, we all had the same answer: teacher's permission. In reality, the answer was without our brain, which is command central for our entire bodies. That was mind boggling to me when I was eight-years-old.

Twenty years ago when my granddaughter, who had a keen interest in science, was about eight, we visited a fascinating exhibit at the Science Center on the human brain. We were instructed to put on latex gloves and prepare for a once in a lifetime experience. It certainly was! We explored a real brain, held it, examined the areas, learned the speech area and so much more.

Here are some interesting facts about the white and gray matter that matters in your own noggin.

 Albert Einstein. Einstein’s brain was similar in size to other humans except in the region that is responsible for math and spatial perception. In that region, his brain was 35% wider than average.

London taxi drivers. Famous for knowing all the London streets by heart, have a larger than normal hippocampus, especially the drivers who have been on the job longest. The study suggests that as people memorize more and more information, this part of their brain continues to grow.

Music. Music lessons have shown to considerably boost brain organization and ability in both children and adults.

      Thoughts. The average number of thoughts that humans are believed to experience each
      day is 70,000.

Ambidexterity. Those who are left-handed or ambidextrous have a corpus collosum (the part of the brain that bridges the two halves) that is about 11% larger than those who are right-handed.

      Weight. The weight of the human brain is about 3 lbs.        
      Cerebrum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and makes up 85% of the brain’s
      Skin. Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain.
      Gray matter. The brain’s gray matter, made up of neurons, gather and transmit signals.

White matter. The white matter is made up of dendrites and axons, which create the network by which neurons send their signals.

Gray and white. Your brain is 60% white matter and 40% gray matter.

Water. The brain is made up of about 75% water.

Neurons. Your brain consists of about 100 billion neurons.

Synapses. There are anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for each neuron.

No pain. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain. My friend's brain surgery was painless.

Largest brain. While an elephant’s brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2% of total body weight (compared to 0.15% of an elephant’s brain), meaning humans have the largest brain to body size.

Blood vessels. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.

Fat. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat.

And all the while I thought it was my belly!

I read an article about a woman who knows her unborn child has no brain development. She is carrying her child to term so she can donate the organs. What a priceless and precious gift.

When my grandson was born, there was a mother who gave birth to a little boy who had no brain stem. It was so very sad. 

I am thankful for my brain. I am forgetful at times, but I can write an essay. In fact, one of my stories has made first round selection for Listen to Your Mother, St. Louis. I will audition along with the other 29 folks selected (three of which are my critique group members) and then judges will whittle their selections down to 15. I am thrilled to even be considered.

Just a question: are you better at math or language/ words or numbers?


Sioux said...

Linda--I am a nincompoop when it comes to numbers and math.

And thanks for all the tidbits about the brain. I would love to touch one. That must have been so cool.

Val said...

Congrats on your selection!

Words have always come easy to me, and if I concentrate, I'm pretty good with numbers, too. I'm kind of jealous, because in all my years of science teaching and training, I've never held a human brain in my hands!

Would you EAT brains? I'm not insinuating that you're a secret zombie or anything. Not HUMAN brains. But would you eat fried brains, or a brain sandwich? I don't think I would try it...

Linda O'Connell said...

No. I would not eat brains here or tbere. I would not eat them ANYwhere!

Linda O'Connell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DUTA said...

Regarding your question at the bottom of your very interesting post:
I was once asked if I was good at maths or at foreign language study. In both cases, so I was told, one needs abstract ability that is not neccessarily needed in other subjects.

Well, I was not very good at maths but I was quite good at studying a foreign language. So, I was glad to learn that I was probably not totally devoid of abstract cognition which, so it seems, says a lot about a person's overall mental ability.

Bookie said...

All very interesting!!!! I'm terrible with numbers!!!!!

Susan said...

Well that was a lot of information on our brains, Linda. I agree with you about the scarecrow and the current so-called government, too. Hee hee

I am much better with words, English, etc. and stink at math. Hope your week ahead is a good one. Hugs. Susan

Kathy's Klothesline said...

The scarecrows in our government scare me!!
I love math, but I also like words. I suppose I feel like math is a necessity and words are the embellishments of life. You actually need to be good at both to communicate and perhaps lead a nation? I am indeed, scared!

Connie said...

Interesting facts about the brain. Good luck on having your essay chosen and congratulations on being selected in the first round. I do much better working with words than I do with numbers. I enjoy language and find it more fun.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Very cool information! Love that list! My math skills are substandard, I'm embarrassed to say. My brain is word-wired. :)

K9friend said...

The brain is a fascinating thing-and I know it has capabilities we've yet to understand.

Congrats on your winning essay and good luck!