1. The brain consumes about 17% of the body’s total energy but accounts for only 3% of bodyweight.
2. The forebrain, located in the forward region of the brain, is responsible for intellectual functions such as planning, problem-solving and logic.
3. The human brain consists of some 100 billion active nerve cells.
4. The brain’s neurons communicate by transmitting electrical impulses along their axons. Interactions among neurons can be simple or complex, and the amount of time they take can range from milliseconds to months.
5. After about three weeks of gestation, a human fetus’s brain begins to form. By the fourth week, it is identifiable.
6. There are 22 different bones in the skull, 8 in the cranium and 14 in the face.
7. Basic life functions such as breathing, blood flow and heartbeat are controlled by the brain stem, located at the brain’s base.
8. The cerebrum accounts for about 85% of the brain’s weight and is the organ’s largest part.
9. Often referred to as the “little brain,” the cerebrum is the second-largest part of the brain. It handles muscle movement and controls balance.
10. The left hemisphere handles language, analytics and mathematical reasoning.
11. Creative, artistic and spontaneous thoughts are derived from the right hemisphere of the brain.
12. Many ancient philosophers believed that human consciousness resided in the heart. It wasn’t until 17th century that philosopher Thomas Willis began to argue the vast powers of the brain.
13. Although the brain registers pain, the organ itself has no pain receptors.
14. The brain is constantly sending and receiving information. Motor circuits transmit information away from the brain to muscles and glands, while sensory circuits report findings to the brain.
15. The brain has a jellylike consistency and is made up of fat and protein.
16. The cerebrum is divided into left and right hemispheres, each with four main areas: the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and temporal lobe.
17. The average adult’s attention span is 20 minutes (unless it’s a topic one finds especially interesting). Children’s attention spans, however, are usually close to their age in minutes.
18. Stress can interfere with the brain’s cognitive processes.
19. People who frequently suffer from jet lag can experience memory loss and even brain damage. This may be because of stress-induced hormones associated with jet lag.
20. It’s believed that playing videogames can help you multitask more efficiently.
21. Yawning may help keep you alert by expanding the pharynx and larynx, thus allowing the intake of more oxygen, which the brain needs to function properly.
22. The brain’s frontal lobe may be a kind of “humor center.” Some people with damage to this area of the brain, especially on the right side, often don’t get jokes.
23. What do an adult human and a bottlenose dolphin have in common? Their brains weigh almost the same amount. An adult human brain weighs about 3 pounds, and a bottlenose dolphin’s brain tips the scales at about 4 pounds.
24. As we age, we can often remember long-ago events more easily than recent events.
25. Sleep is essential for your brain. Sleep deprivation can lead to “microsleep,” when the brain “shuts off” for a few seconds at a time. An impaired person might lose track of a conversation or task.
26. 9.5% of children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
27. Loss of brain cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain can lead to Parkinson’s Disease.
28. The ability to pay attention to one sound out of a cacophony of sound is called “The Cocktail Effect.”
29. The grooves and folds in the cerebral cortex are called convolutions.
30. Nerves connect all the body’s organs to the brain. Nerve impulses race to the brain as fast as 250 miles an hour (402.5 kilometers an hour).