The Brain

This year’s Brain Awareness Week (BAW) was on March 12-18, 2007. BAW is a series of events held around the world with the aim of increasing public awareness about the brain. We thought you might be interested to read about our most important organ – The Brain.

It is what sets humans apart from all other species by allowing us to achieve the wonders of travelling in space and composing masterpieces of arts and literature. A spongy three-pound mass of fatty tissue, the brain has often been compared to a super-computer. Yet, the brain is much more complex than the latter device, a fact that is being confirmed almost everyday by scientists as they make new discoveries. While the extent of the brain’s capabilities remains unknown, it is the most complicated living structure known in the universe.

From heart rate and sexual function to emotion, learning and memory, the brain controls all body activities. This single organ is even believed to have an influence on the immune system’s response to disease and to partly determine how well people respond to medical treatments. At the end of the day, it shapes our thoughts, hopes, dreams and imaginations. In other words, the brain is what makes us human.

Whilst neuroscientists have the gruelling task of cracking the mystery of this most complicated of all machines, here are some simple and fascinating facts about the human brain:

  • It represents about 2% of your total body weight; your skin weighs twice as much as your brain.
  • Your brain stopped growing at age 18.
  • It consists of 60% white matter and 40% grey matter.
  • The human brain is approximately 75% water.
  • Your brain is capable of having more ideas than the number of atoms in the known universe.
  • If you could harness the power used by your brain, you could power as a 10-watt light bulb.
  • Your brain uses approximately 20% of the total oxygen pumping around your body.
  • All of your "thinking" is done by electricity and chemicals.
  • Unconsciousness will occur after 8-10 seconds after loss of blood supply to the brain.

Considering the fact that the brain is the most important organ of the body, taking care of it is every bit as important as your physical well-being. Yet, in today’s high-paced society, it is most commonly affected by stress. Research increasingly indicates that continuous or intense stress may sometimes negatively influence the brain and its function. Studies find evidence that severe stress may sometimes alter brain cells, brain structure and brain function. Consequently, memory problems and the development of some mental diseases, including depression, may arise.

On a more positive note, research also suggests that methods that may help to ward off or even possibly reverse some of the stress effects are under investigation. In the meantime, our StressScan is a quick and reliable way to identify the lifestyle, coping and psychosocial factors that help withstand the adverse effects of daily stress.

As goes the saying, “A healthy mind in a healthy body”.


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