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The Brain: An Amazing Piece of Art

The brain is an absolutely astonishing instrument. With about 86 billion neurons, and many more connections between neurons called synapses, it is the most complicated structure in the known universe.
To make calculations easier, lets just say we have 100 billion neurons (a number often used in neuroscience). The number of axons would be about 1 Quadrillion ( a 1 followed by 15 zeros,  or 1015).

Think of the size of a millimeter, about the length of this dash: -. Now think of a cube with that one millimeter size wall. You could pack a half a billion synapses into that one millimeter cube.

activebrainThe adult brain weighs between 1300 and 1400 grams (about 3 pounds). That means, the brain of a 150 lb person makes up about 2% of body mass. That 2%, however, uses in excess of 20% of the energy and oxygen and other nutrients. This really emphasizes how important it is to feed your brain well (not a lot, but high quality)!

The brain also needs exercise! We are not talking about those online brain training games that have little demonstrable effect (other than participants becoming better at playing those games). Brain training is something you can do every day: read interesting and challenging articles, learn something new (and in a little more depth than a 140 character tweet), play an instrument, learn to speak a foreign language, memorize some interesting facts or a poem, learn a new skill (music, art), and engage in physical exercise (yes, the increased blood flow from physical exercise also significantly benefits the brain.

For truly inspiring and artistic  images of the brain, follow the link below and click on the thumbnail image by Greg Dunn and his collaborators (we can’t show full images here due to copyright limitations).

Thalamus&Basal Ganglia

Self Reflected - A Guided Tour by Will Drinker and Greg Dunn
 

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