The brain is a highly complex organ that is still not even fully understood by scientists. While there is still so much more to be learned, let’s honor Brain Health Awareness Week (March 12-18th) by celebrating what we do know about this incredibly complex organ.
- Our Brains are constantly changing. Referred to as brain plasticity or neuroplasticity, our experiences shape our brain. Learning new information and practicing new skills can also help our brains to grow new connections and even repair broken ones.
- Our brain weighs about 3.3 pounds and makes up about 2% of your body weight.
- Your brain is the fattiest organ in the body with 60% of its weight being fat. This is why eating a diet that is substantial in healthy fats, like nuts, oils and avocados helps to keep the mind young and healthy.
- 73% of the brain is water. When you become dehydrated, even by as little as 2%, is enough to affect your cognitive skills, memory and attention. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to keep your brain performing at the most optimal level.
- 25% of the total amount of cholesterol present in the body is in the brain. Cholesterol is what keeps your brain cells healthy and without it, they die. The brain must produce its own cholesterol and is more stable than the cholesterol in other organs.
- The more wrinkles the better! These wrinkles in the brain increase the surface area available for brain cells.
How stress affects our ability to concentrate
- Chronic stress and depression, which are becoming more and more common, can cause the brain to shrink. While there is still much to be learned about how this happens, researchers at Yale discovered that stress causes a loss of brain synapses resulting in the loss of brain volume.
- While multi-tasking has become a sought after skill, it is actually not possible for the human brain to learn or concentrate on two things at once. Taking on too many tasks at once can actually decrease your attention span, memory and ability to learn.
- The average attention span is decreasing. Just 18 years ago our average attention span was 12 seconds. Now, our attention span is actually 1 second less than that of a goldfish, averaging 8 seconds.
Your unique brain
- Each brain is as unique as your fingerprint. No two brain’s patterns of connectivity are alike.
- Research shows that the brain has a much higher memory capacity than your computer, at bytes, the same amount needed to store the entire internet!
- We also have a “second brain” in our digestive track. Our intestines contain 100 million neurons; our brain has about 86 billion.
- While the theory about being left-brained (logical or analytic) or right-brained (creative) is very popular, it is not well supported by science.
- It is estimated that the average person has anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately, it is also estimated that 70% of those thoughts are negative.
- You can actually train your brain with neurofeedback therapy. By pinpointing areas of the brain that are not working optimally, neurofeedback allows the body to begin processing information differently by regulating the brain and allowing it to function at its most optimal level.
While there is a lot that is still yet to be discovered about the brain, the human brain is vastly interesting. What we do know is that there are several things that you can be doing to protect your brain from the effects of stress and aging. Use this information to help keep your brain healthy and strong so you can enjoy those memories you’ve built throughout your lifetime.
In honor of Brain Health Awareness Week we are offering a Complimentary Brain Screening!