The brain sculpts not only who we are but also the world that we experience. It tells us what to see, what to hear and what to say. It expands to accommodate a new language or skill that we learn. It tells stories when we’re sleeping. It sends alarm signals, and it spurs the body to run or fight when it senses danger.
The brain adapts to environments so we aren’t annoyed by a constant smell in an old house or the constant hum of the air conditioning. Our brains look to the sun and tell our body what time it is. The brain stores memories, both painful and pleasant. Here are some fascinating things we learned about the brain.
1. The brain is magnetic
Our brains are magnetic. Or, at least, brains contain particles that can be magnetized. But scientists don’t really know why these particles are in the brain or where they originated. Some researchers believe that these magnetizable particles serve a biological purpose, while others say the particles got into the brain because of environmental contamination.
This year, scientists mapped out where these particles are located in the brain. The results of their study, the researchers said, provide evidence that the particles are there for a reason. That’s because in all the brains the scientists examined — from seven people who died in the early 1990s between ages 54 to 87 — the magnetic particles were always concentrated in the same areas. The investigators also found that most parts of the brain contained these little magnets.
Many animal brains also have magnetic particles, and there’s even some suggestion that animals use these particles to navigate. What’s more, a type of bacteria called magnetotactic bacteria use the particles to orient themselves in space.
2. A second brain in the gut?
Millions of brain cells live in the large intestine, and because these cells function without any instructions from the brain or spine, scientists sometimes refer to the mass of them as “the second brain.” But this mass also has a scientific name…Show More >>>
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