Understanding the Ways in Which the Human Brain Works

“We do know that this phenomenon exists, but we do not have a good explanation for it.”

“How this works for the human brain is still in question.”

These are just two comments made by researchers in the field of neuroscience, the study of the nervous system and the brain.

The human brain, an organ of two to four pounds, is still an enigma for experts, who want to understand the ways in which the human brain works.

Do we really know how the brain works? In the last decades, scientists have made many discoveries, creating the opportunity to unlock the mysteries of the brain.

Well, we know more than we did fifty years ago – and definitely less than we will know in the next fifty years!

The goal of learning about the brain is to understand the brain and treat its disorders, including Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. We want to know how the trillions of neurons that form neural circuits works, and how messages are passed through these connections.

The revolution in brain research came from the discovery of high-resolution imaging technologies. Thanks to this technology, scientists can now observe how the brain’s structure and functions are connected in living humans.

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) which is a more advanced technology compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)   or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) is a big help in understanding how the brain works. Why?  Because SPECT is a functional scan, telling us how the brain actually works at the moment. Magnetic resonance imaging or Computerized Axial Tomography just tells us how the brain looks, not how it works. To understand how the brain works, we need to see the brain in action in the living organism! Blood flow and activity patterns are correlated. If an area of the brain is working hard, it gets an immediate increased blood flow.  

Also, using pulses of light, scientists can determine how specific cell activities in the brain affect behaviour.

So far we have learned many facts about the human brain and how it works. We know that the human brain is a very active and busy organ. Some of the brain’s many jobs are to control more than 100,000 chemical reactions every second! Can you imagine it?!  The brain produces more than 50 identified active drugs, more than many pharmaceuticals companies do.

Did you know that your brain is the organ of your personality? When you make the brain better, your personality is better.

For some people this is something to think about: When the weight goes up, the brain size goes down. Obese people have less brain tissue, and their brain looks years older than healthy people. This is a proven fact!

If you want a healthy brain, remember:People who are living a healthy life have significantly better brain function as they age.

Conclusion: If we want to make significant breakthroughs in brain research, we need a new generation of tools to record signals from brain cells at even faster speeds.