Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
The brain is a complex and fascinating organ. It is essentially what makes us up. Now you can say that our body is made up of a lot of things but you could theorize that we are just brains that are using bones and flesh for protection.
The brain has many functions. It allows us to think, move, feel, see, hear, taste, and smell. It is the organ that controls our bodies. It is capable of receiving information from every other part of the body and analyzing that information. It can also store some of this information that are called memories.
The human brain on average weighs between 1300-1400 grams. It is 40% grey matter and 60% white. The three main parts of the brain consist of: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem (medulla). Although the brain is only 2% of the body’s weight, it needs a lot of nourishment. It gets 20% of the oxygen of the body and another 20% of the blood flow. If the brain is deprived of oxygen for even a few minutes, the cells in it will begin to die.
It is apart of the CNS (Central Nervous System) along with the spinal chord. Its function here is to obtain information and rely it back to the respective part of the body.
The brain is fragile. It is made up of cells called nerve cells. There are other cells in the brain called glial cells. They don’t carry electrical signals unlike nerve cells but they provide protection for nerve cells, provide nutrients and get rid of any dead cells.
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. It contains most of the functions that are responsible for the brains function. It is divided into four parts.
- Frontal Lobe:
This part of the brain controls creative thought, problem solving, intellect, judgment, behavior, attention, abstract thinking, physical reactions, muscle movements, coordinated movements, smell and personality.
- Parietal Lobe:
This part of the brain focuses on understanding. Language, reading, tactile sensation and sensory comprehension are here.
- Temporal Lobe:
This part of the cerebrum controls visual and auditory memories. It also helps you manage your speech and hearing abilities.
- Occipital Lobe:
This part of the brain is located at the back of the head. It helps control vision.
The second part of the brain, the Cerebellum controls coordination,posture, and balance.
The next part of the brain is the Limbic System. This part of the brain deals with emotions.
The Brain Stem is the part of the brain that controls basic human functions.
As amazing as the brain is, it too can also have its own problems. The main one I’m going to discuss is mental illness. The exact cause of mental illnesses is unkown but it becoming clear that a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors play apart in it.
Mental illness can cause an inbalance of chemicals in neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for helping nerve cells communicate with one another. If there is an inbalance, they cannot work as they should and information may not be communicated.
There are biological factors that can cause such inbalances. These can be genetic. If memebers of one family have mental illness then liklihood of said illness has a greater chance of being passed down the family tree. Brain injuries obviously can contribute to these illnesses. Certain infections have been linked to the development of brain damage and mental illness. One infection is called pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder. This has been linked to the development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in children.
Psychological factors as mentioned can also be a cause. Things like severe abuse, death of a family member, neglect and a poor ability to relate to others are some factors.
Environmental factors such as death, divorce, poverty, feelings of inadequacy, social expectations and substance abuse are the main environmental factors.
The brain is quite an interesting place. It is our single most powerful tool given to us at birth. How we choose our to use this tool is up to ourselves. We can use it for good, for bad or even…not at all. It is powerful yes but we should also take care of it. It is precious yet so fragile.