Your brain processes information and sends messages to your body. People often compare the brain to a big computer, but it does much more than any machine. The mind is where you experience emotions, think, and store memories. Scientists have studied the brain for centuries, and there is still much we do not understand.
The main sections of the brain are:
- The cerebrum
- The cerebellum
- The brain stem
- The diencephalon
From the outside, the brain's folds make it look like a large walnut. It weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms, and it's the size of both of your fists put together. This small structure enables you to experience cognition and make judgments.
How Much of Our Brain Do We Use?
Many people believe that humans only use 10% of our brains. However, research has shown that most of your mind is active all day every day. In one day, you will use almost every part of your brain to think, read, breathe, and function.
Even though you can’t necessarily unlock new parts of your brain, you can still strengthen it. Some ways to improve brain function include:
- Physical exercise. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of health complications that can affect your brain function.
- Eating well. Like your body, your brain needs a well-balanced diet to remain in top shape. Eat foods that promote brain health, such as olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids, foods high in vitamin E, and foods rich in antioxidants.
- Mental exercise. If you want to improve memory, you should challenge your brain regularly. Activities such as puzzles, chess, and reading can reduce your risk of memory problems.
Another common misconception about the brain is that you form new wrinkles every time you learn new information. The fact is, our brains wrinkle as they grow. Your brain has limited space inside your head to expand. So, it "folds itself" so that you can fit more grey matter inside your skull.
What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a symptom of different medical conditions. While it is not a scientific diagnosis, it can be a severe problem for many people. When people talk about brain fog, they usually mean:
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of focus
- Limited mental clarity
Some people use brain fog as a way to explain extreme tiredness. Brain fog can affect school and work, but there are ways to combat it. The first way is understanding the causes of your fog so that you can address the underlying issues. Brain fog can happen due to:
- Lack of sleep
- Improper diet
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes, depression, dehydration, migraines, and chronic fatigue
- Side effects of medications
There are many more reasons that you may experience brain fog, so it is essential to consult your doctor. The treatment of brain fog depends on the underlying condition. Once you find out the reason behind the problem, you can treat that condition and manage your symptoms.
You may be able to reduce the appearance of brain fog by managing your stress levels, working out, changing your diet, or getting more sleep. Relief is possible, so don’t leave your brain fog untreated.
When is the Brain Fully Developed?
The prefrontal cortex, the center of rational thought and decision-making, is not fully developed until the age of 25. All of the other parts of the brain are developed at this point. This part of the brain also affects:
- Regulation of emotions
- Control of impulsive behavior
- Risk assessment
- Ability to make long-term plans
Many scientists use this information to explain teen behavior. The emotional and rational parts of the teen brain grow at disproportionate rates, so teens tend to react emotionally and impulsively. Other parts of the brain can continue to grow in the early 20s as well, depending on the person.
Genetic and environmental factors affect our brain development. Every person is on their own path. For this reason, it is best to think of brain maturity as a constant transition rather than a finish line to cross.
How Many Neurons Are in the Brain?
A neuron (or nerve cell) is a type of cell that processes and transmits information. Neurons cannot replicate themselves in adulthood, and once they die, they cannot be replaced. The average human brain has 86 billion neurons and even more supporting cells.
Each neuron connects to 10,000 other neurons at most. They pass signals to each other at insanely fast speeds. Neurons aid in both sensory and motor information transmission. They also affect memory encoding and retrieval. When you improve memory, you improve the speed and ease of how your neurons communicate with each other.
Overall, the brain is an essential and complex organ. Once you begin to understand how it works, you can support your brain health and keep it strong for years to come.