The brain is undoubtedly the most complete and complex organ that the human being has; since it simulates an incredible organic machinery that is capable of enhancing functions of great importance such as physical and immune protection of the body. But is there anything else to know about the brain?
The truth is that yes, there are many surprising characteristics that the brain hides within the central nervous system , but even more the parts that make it up. Therefore, in this interesting article we will reveal all the parts of the brain and its most relevant functions that you need to know .
What is the brain?
The brain is an organ but it does not mean that it is a muscle, as it is often said. It is specifically located within the skull, being managed in its activity by the nervous system. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the brain floats in a transparent liquid, which is called cerebrospinal fluid ; which serves as protection.
Much of its structure is made up of thousands and thousands of neurons , which are connected through dendrites and axons; in turn responsible for regulating all the functions of the brain, mind and body in general. That is, supervising essential jobs such as breathing, eating or sleeping; as well as the ability to reason.
Parts of the brain
It is very important to know the composition of the brain and what determines that section. Therefore, let’s see which are the main parts of the brain:
Formed mainly by structures that are subcortical and cortical in nature , which are hidden under the cerebral cortex. These in turn are divided into the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the cingulate cortex, the occipital lobe, the temporal lobe, and the insular cortex.
All these lobes are divided equally for the two hemispheres, the left and the right. Now, in relation to the subcortical structures that are under the cerebral cortex, the corpus callosum is located, which has the power to unify the two hemispheres, there is also the thalamus, amygdala, basal ganglia, mammillary bodies and hippocampus.
Therefore, the brain is the essential organ for integrating the information received from the sensory organs and then organizing and distributing an appropriate response . Which means that you have maximum control over emotional and motor functions, in addition to higher cognitive functions.
Within the brain, the cerebellum is positioned as the second largest organ. Apart from that aspect, it is in charge of maintaining postural control and movements, without neglecting the performance of cognitive functions.
Hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands
The hypothalamus is that part that communicates with the glands , such as the pituitary and pineal through hormones that are released for the regulation of visceral functions; as is the case of body temperature and those basic behaviors for humans: eating, seeking pleasure, sexual response.
In the case of the pineal gland, its main role is played by the synchronization of the release of an important hormone, such as melatonin; one that is vital for the regulation of sleep cycles, coordinating this work with the optic chiasm.
It is a basic structure of the brain, capable of organizing all the information that comes to us through the senses (except for smell that comes through the olfactory bulb more specifically). The thalamus is in charge of sending this sensory information to the highest structures of our brain to process all the information and make it assimilable. It also helps us that when faced with a dangerous situation, our autonomic nervous system reacts without having to think, simply as an automated reflex. So it is one of the parts of the brain that helps us the most to flee from possible dangers.
Brainstem or brainstem
Its presence begins in the upper part of the spinal cord, thus forming a medulla oblongata, the midbrain and the bridge of Varolio, also known as the pons. Part of its functions focuses on the control of the automatic functions of the human body , be it blood pressure, limbic movements or heartbeat. But also pay attention to visceral functions like urination or digestion.
This very important structure is part of the limbic system. This is one of the parts where a large part of the emotions are generated, especially those related to fear. It plays a fundamental role in memory that is in relation to emotions, and any related learning. We match each stimulus and experience with some emotion, this allows us to anticipate taking different attitudes. The amygdala is primarily responsible for these automated processes.
It is one of the oldest parts of the brain, as it is present in many mammals. Its functions include the storage of memories, learning, spatial navigation and the fact of being able to remember situations already experienced immediately.
As we could anticipate, the brain is more than indispensable for the intellectual, behavioral, emotional and physical development of the human being; since all vital functions are possible thanks to the brain, specifically through the encephalon.
Although each function is of great importance, there are activities that excel at this point, such as the following:
- Control of vital functions : regulation of blood pressure, breathing process, ability to sleep and eat, heart rate measurement, among others.
- Reception of information through the senses : receives, interprets and processes the stimuli that arrive through sight, taste, hearing, smell and touch.
- Movement control : everything we do like walking, talking or just standing, as well as the posture of the body, is controlled by the brain.
- Manage emotions and behavioral processes.
- It allows the ability to create thoughts , reason, feel and generate emotions.
- Control of cognitive functions : learning, executive functions and perception.
How is the brain working?
Due to the informational transmission carried out by neurons together with other cells, the brain exerts its perfect functioning through electrical and chemical impulses . Such information crossing takes place through the synapse; that is, where cells and neurons contact each other and carry out the exchange of neurotransmitters.
Then there are the axon buttons, which establish close communication with the dendrites. But the most surprising thing is that each transmission process is carried out in a matter of milliseconds, something that not even a computer or technological equipment can do.
Therefore, it is important to be able to perceive and respond almost immediately to stimuli that are present in a matter of seconds. And as if that were not enough, speed is not an excuse; since neurons do not stop carrying out their work with maximum precision.
Characteristics of the human brain
- The human brain folds and folds back on itself, giving it that appearance of being wrinkled.
- The weight of the brain is 1.5 kilos with a volume of 1,130 cm 3 in the case of women and 1,260 cm 3 for men.
- The skull is protected against blows thanks to the covering that has the membranes called meninges.
- The brain is not a static organ, as it is floating in the cerebrospinal fluid.
- In the case of humans, the brain has more than 100 trillion nerve cells, which are mostly neuron and glial cells.
How does the human brain develop?
To be able to enjoy an excellent human machinery such as the one available within the cranial structure, such as the brain; It is important to delve into the details of its development, which makes it possible to understand how it is formed and the reason for its wonderful qualities.
It should be noted that the brain begins to be created during the embryonic stage , since in just 4 weeks the neural tube is formed, which has an important job for the development of the general nervous system and the brain; in turn of the composition of the brain and spinal cord.
After this initial phase, the process is transformed into a more complex one where migration, proliferation and cell differentiation take place, which will enhance the development of the brain as such.
In the case of neurons, they are located in their formation in the neural tube and then migrate to the brain. However, each of these neurons in the brain has a different characteristic and specializes in different functions.
During the main stage, which is the prenatal one, brain cells can reach up to 250,000 per minute . But at the time of birth, the brain already has all the nerve cells necessary for its survival.
However, it will be during the first two years of life when the connections of nerve cells to DNA begin to be established , which will be decisive for future connections, as well as the processes of myelination, brain growth and transfer of information.
Said brain development will vary according to the age of the baby or human being, so it is important to determine what are the characteristic features in the various stages.
0 to 12 months
At this point, newborns have a well-developed spinal cord and brainstem , so they are able to respond to stimuli, reflexes, and basic functions for survival, such as eating, sleeping, and crying.
With the passage of time and days, hand in hand with the relationship that he is experiencing with the environment, new connections will be established to add capacities, such as gaze direction, complex movements and language compression.
Since 3 years old
From this age, the brain already has 80% of the size that the infant will have when it is an adult. For this reason, the cerebral cortex and the limbic system have already achieved excellent development . Which means that the child will begin to express much better, recognize emotions, start talking and playing.
On the other hand, from the age of 3, brain plasticity is very wide, so if one area of the cerebral cortex is damaged, another can take over the functions, since it has not fully specialized.
After the age of youth has passed, it is when the brain partially completes its development, since the prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that takes the longest to mature in its growth process. This cortex is totally linked to the control of behavior, problem solving and reasoning.
But, although all this development can end in youth, in some areas of the brain the generation of new neurons continues to occur as well. Likewise, brain plasticity is maintained but to a lesser degree.
Curiosities of the brain
Process images in record time
The brain is capable of capturing and processing images in less than a second, since a scientific study determined that such complete graphs can be processed in a scarce time of 13 thousandths of a second.
When they sleep less than 7 hours a day, it causes the brain to reduce its brain volume, as well as a lower cognitive performance. This results in premature aging of the nervous system . Although it is an extremely slow and gradual process, there is no turning back.
Relaxation from laughter
In case you did not know, laughter is capable of relaxing the brain, since this stimulus generates brain waves very similar to those generated when a meditation is performed. Therefore, humor is a perfect method to de-stress, promote more positive thoughts and the ability to make decisions in a more serene way.
According to a study carried out, the brain is capable of deceiving the human being through the functioning of memory. This was determined because the hippocampus works with the editing of content, such as recent or past memories, so it can retouch or edit each scene experienced as if it were a real movie.
Ability to burn fat
It is a molecular switch that the brain has, which is capable of regulating and controlling the burning of fats that inhabit the human body. According to some research specialists, by controlling this switch, therapies against obesity or metabolic problems can be created.
Yawning to refresh
Yawning has so far no medical or scientific explanation for its empirical performance in humans and even animals. But the truth is that, according to a scientific theory, yawning allows you to refresh the brain and increase speed levels in response to stimuli.
Love from the brain
The hormone that controls feelings and emotions, which is called oxytocin, is produced in the hypothalamus. This means that the brain acts as the main responsible for the social behaviors that are generated, such as empathy , love, friendship and even pleasure during the presence of orgasm.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.