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A Few Brain Facts

Here are a few interesting brain facts to amuse and inform you:

- Your brain uses 20% of your blood. About 20% of your blood is pumped to the brain, which needs it to keep up with the heavy metabolic demands of its neurons.

- Your brain uses 20% of your oxygen. What accounts for 2% of your body's mass, yet uses 20% of all the oxygen you breathe? Your brain! It needs a continuous supply of oxygen, and a 10 minute loss of oxygen can cause significant neural damage.

- The cerebellum, sometimes called the "little brain", weighs approximately 150 grams. Found at the lower back of the brain, it is needed to maintain posture, to walk, and to perform any coordinated movements. It may also play a role in olfaction or smell.

- The brain has no pain. Because there are no nerves that register pain within the brain itself, neurosurgeons can probe the brain while a patient is conscious. They can then use feedback from the patient to identify important regions, such as those used for speech.

- An elephant's brain is about six times as large as a human brain. In relation to body size, however, humans have the largest brain of all the animals (about 2% of body weight).

- The human brain weighs an average of about 1.4 kilograms, or a little over three pounds. A cat's brain weighs about one ounce.

- Number of neurons in the brain (average): 100 billion

- Number of neocortical neurons lost each day: 85,000

- Albert Einstein's brain was smaller than average, because he was smaller than average.

- There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.

- We now know for a fact that the brain continues to produce new neurons throughout our lives, and it does so in response to stimulation (exercise). This is referred to as brain plasticity or neuro-plasticity, and it is one of the most encouraging of these brain facts.

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