What organ can work without the brain

The brain controls everything

The brain is the center of the nervous system. It controls all vital body functions and enables thinking, speaking, decision-making, the coordination of many different movements as well as perception and reaction to sensory impressions.

This is how the brain works

A human brain weighs an average of 1.4 kg and is located in the cranial cavity. It consists of billions of nerve cells (neurons) and supporting cells (glial cells). The transmission of messages from one part of the nerve cell to another takes place through electrical signals. Messages from one nerve cell to another are transmitted through chemical reactions. Nerve cells often form 10,000 or more connections with other nerve cells.

It's good for the brain

Hanspeter Michel, dipl. Drogist HF, has put together some tips for a well-functioning brain:

  • Unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (EPA / DHA) are essential for optimal brain development during pregnancy and childhood.

  • Ginkgo biloba extracts promote cerebral blood flow and the supply of oxygen and thus support concentration and memory. Ginkgo extracts have an anti-arteriosclerotic effect, i.e. they improve the blood flow properties in the vessels.

  • Essential vital substances such as the amino acid glutamine or phosphatidylserine have a positive effect on the energy metabolism in the brain. They are suitable for mental exhaustion before or during exams and in everyday school life. In the drugstore there are over-the-counter medicines (glutamic acid) and numerous food supplements (phosphatidylserine) with these active ingredients.

  • Sufficient sleep, plenty of exercise in the fresh air and regular brain training such as chess, crossword puzzles or Sudoku are also important.

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It makes up more than 40 percent of the brain's mass. It is responsible for visual perception, memory, the sense of touch and understanding of language. But the coordination of movement sequences, thinking, behavior and the development of personality also mainly take place in the cerebrum.

The brain stem goes straight into the spinal cord. Sensory information from all over the body is carried from the spinal cord to the brain via the brain stem. Conversely, motor commands are passed on from the brain via the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The brain stem contains many critical reflex centers that control vital functions such as heartbeat and breathing.

The diencephalon consists of the two main areas thalamus and hypothalamus. The thalamus is about the size of a walnut and is responsible for relaying sensory information to different regions of the cerebral cortex. The hypothalamus is located on the underside of the thalamus and is the control center for body functions such as eating, drinking, defense and reproduction. He is also involved in emotions such as fear and anger.

The cerebellum is responsible for controlling movements and maintaining physical balance. It reacts very sensitively to excessive alcohol consumption, which leads to balance and coordination disorders.

The memory

People acquire knowledge and store it as a memory in their brain. The ability to learn and think is closely related to the ability to remember. There are three different forms of knowledge storage:

  • Ultra-short-term memory: a few milliseconds to seconds

  • Short term memory: a few seconds to minutes

  • Long-term memory: a few days to years

Memory cannot be ascribed to a single area of ​​the brain; rather, it is the interaction of the various areas of the brain that makes up memory. Forgetting is also part of this process; it creates space for new learning experiences.

Einstein's brain

Dr. Thomas Harvey performed the autopsy on the late physicist Albert Einstein in 1955. He paid particular attention to the brain of the Nobel Prize winner. Harvey thought it had to be different from a normal brain. He injected formalin into the arteries, placed the organ in a preservative solution and found that Einstein's brain looked like any other. Harvey started a second attempt. He carefully measured Einstein's brain and cut it into 240 numbered slices.

It was not until 1996 that Harvey published an article on his research results. Einstein's brain had neither more nor larger nerve cells than a normal brain. The scientist Marian Diamond had also researched the panes. She found that the ratio between glial cells and neurons in a certain region of the parietal or parietal lobe was slightly increased. But what exactly this means is still unclear, including how Albert Einstein's extraordinary intellect came about.

Author: Ann Schärer
Editor: Bettina Epper