Friday, January 23, 2009

Secrets of Brain

I have recently read a good article on explanation of functioning of Brain and Alzheimer's. Notes from that article are as follows:

Brain is the king of all organs in human body. I weighs about 3 pounds with texture like jelly.

Structure of Brain: Brain consists of mainly 3 parts
  1. Cerebrum: involved in thinking, remembering, problem solving and controlling movements. (So if some one feels problem in above mentioned functions there is some irregularity in Cerebrum)
  2. Cerebellum: Sits back of head (Above your ear) it controls and co-ordinates balance.
  3. Brain Stem: It resides in-front of Cerebellum. It connects your brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions, such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure. (Now I understand why it is prescribed to give massage areas adjacent to your ears when blood pressure is high)
Brained id fueled by blood and oxygene through network of blood vessels, with each heart beat arteries carry about 20 - 25% of blood to the brain and 20% of oxygen and fuel is utilized by billions of cells. This explains:
- Why peoples faint when blood pressure is low, reason is supply of blood is reduced.
- Why Pranayam makes your brain due to that your whole body energetic and active, reason is supply and consumption of fuel and oxygen in blood increases.

Utilization of fuel and oxygen increases to 50% while thinking hard or studying.

Cerebrum's outer layer (wrinkled surface) is called Cortex. Cortex is divided into various regions on the basis of their functions (Now I understand what Scientist do for brain mapping, narco analysis)
Regions of Cortex are as follows:

- Regions for sensations (sights, sounds, smells)
- Regions for thoughts, problem solving and planning
- Regions for forming and storing memories
- Regions for controlling voluntarily movements

Brain is divided into two halves (left and right) till now distinction made between these two is:
- Left half controls movement of right side of body
- Right half controls movement of left side of body
- The language area resides on left half

Now the real work of brain is done by individual cells calles neuron or nerve cells (an adult brain consists of more than 100 billion neurons) these neurons are connected with each other at more than 100 trilion points. This structure is known as neuron forest. Now signals are transmitted to these neurons which forms sensations, feeling, memories, thought etc.
Damage of neurons may cause paralysis, alzheimier etc.

Signal Transmission:
- Signals(sensations, thoughts, memories) move from neuron as "tiny charge particle"
- Neurons are connected with each other, connection point is known as synapse
- When a charge reaches synapse it triggers release of tiny burst of chemical called neurottransmitter .
- The neurotransmitters travels across the synapse, carrying signals to other neuron.

- So brain consists of more than 100 billions of neurons more than 100 trillions of connectors i.e Synapses and dozens of neuro-transmitters.
- Over the time experiences creates pattern in signal type and strength (self learning) .
- These patterns of activity explains how brain encodes our thoughts, memories, skills and sense of ourselves. These pattern changes with new learning and experiences
- These activities are studied by the scientists using Positron emission tomography (

Neural Network and Artificial intelligence are the branches of studies where scientists are trying to get the function of brain artificially
Scientists are also working on connecting artificial limbs to the brain with the help of Digital Signal Processing and some Hardware chip. If any how scientists can decode the signaling mechanism of brain it is doable.