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The Secrets of the Human Brain

Xin Chen, Reporter

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How much do you know about your brain?

A human brain contains 100 million neurons (nerve cells), which conveys the instructive information to all parts of the body.  During early pregnancy, neurons develop at a shocking rate of 250,000 per minute, the brain continues growing for a few years after a person is born and by the the age of 2, the brain is about 80% of adult size.  As we enter the age of 25, neurons begin to die at a rate of 12,000 everyday, but don’t panic, even by the time we die, 98% of our neurons are still alive.

Is that surprising?  As the chief commander of our body, brain memorizes everything that happened through the communication among neurons.  It processes the information from external stimuli and analyzes the advantages and disadvantages for us. It’s because of brain that enables us to possess various senses and our unique thoughts.  However, back in the ancient times, many people didn’t realize the significance of our brain.  Ancient Egyptians and Greeks misunderstood our heart as the central commanding organ which does all the thinking, even one of the most prominent philosophers Aristotle thought that brain was only a simple cooling system for blood.  Despite those thoughts sound absurd today, it demonstrates the long-lasting researches our scientists have relentlessly done in unveiling the secrets of the brain and making its importance noticeable for us.

Knowing the essential functions the brain does.  What would happen if our brain is damaged?  To many people, this conjures scenes of severe and irreversible injuries that correspond with permanent physical or mental disabilities.  If you are one of those people, you have just underestimated our brain. In fact, our brain can repair itself in many cases, studies have shown that the brain is able to change the organization of neurons’ networks or their function through training and new experiences, which means despite the injury is irreparable, the damaged part will be replaced with other neurons which have developed the same function through learning.  

In spite that, brain damage is catastrophic for most people, it’s a bliss for another group of people.  Dr. Mealor from the University of California once discovered the “Genius Button” (a special location on the brain where couldn’t be accurately located yet), the damage of which will cause the release of certain hidden talents, which turns the person into a genius in a field. For example, a 9-year-old boy became a mechanic expert after a brain damage; a 56-year-old engineer became an outstanding artist after a damage on the neurons from the cortex of right brain.

Similar cases are still happening now and then, it’s also true that many want to be a genius, but the risk of pushing the “Genius Button” would definitely cost way too much.  Nevertheless, have you ever wonder what indeed causes the differences of intelligence among people? As researches progressed, scientists found out that similar to computer, the brain transmits information through mechanical impulse. Our brain interprets external stimuli or abstract concepts into impulse signals, which was then synthesized into a chemical substance called ribonucleic acid that determines the intensity of neuron communication.  The ability of synthesizing ribonucleic acid varies among people, which leads to the different abilities in accepting information, and it’s also what causes the disparity of our intelligence. Despite genetics plays a substantial role in determining the rate of synthesizing ribonucleic acid, scientists also discovered that acquired training and diligent learning can also improve the synthesizing rate. In contrast, if a person barely thinks or absorbs new information, his innate ability will also degenerated.  Thus, compares to “Genius Button,” constantly utilizing our brain is absolutely the securer and more effective way to be more intelligent!

Mysteries about the brain are still emerging in an endless stream, until today, there are still numerous phenomena left unexplained, perhaps this is where the glamour is, which attracts numerous scientists to strive for the answer and explore recklessly to expose the secrets of our human brain.

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The Secrets of the Human Brain