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The Human Brain: Statistics & Research News

  • Synopsis: Information including questions answers and latest research news on the human brain and spinal cord.

Definition: Human Brain

The brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body. It is made up of more than 100 billion nerves that communicate in trillions of connections called synapses. Our brain gives us awareness of ourselves and of our environment, processing a constant stream of sensory data. It controls our muscle movements, the secretions of our glands, and even our breathing and internal temperature. The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but has a more developed cerebral cortex than any other. Large animals such as whales and elephants have larger brains in absolute terms, but when measured using the encephalization quotient, which compensates for body size, the human brain is almost twice as large as the brain of a bottle-nose dolphin, and three times as large as the brain of a chimpanzee - See Definitions of Human Brain Components.

Main Document

The human brain is the center of the human nervous system. Enclosed in the cranium, it has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times as large as the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size.

The human brain is the center of the nervous system in animals. All vertebrates, and the majority of invertebrates, have a brain.

The brain has the size and appearance of a small cauliflower. But thanks to its 100 billion nerve cells, we can think, plan, talk, imagine, and so much more.

The brain has two cerebral hemispheres.

Each takes care of one side of the body, but the controls are crossed: the right hemisphere takes care of the left side, and vice versa.

If each hemisphere were unfolded, it would be the size of an extra-large pizza! For this reason, the brain must fold over on itself many times to fit into the skull.

The brain monitors and regulates the body's actions and reactions.

It continuously receives sensory information, and rapidly analyzes this data and then responds, controlling bodily actions and functions.

The brainstem controls breathing, heart rate, and other autonomic processes that are independent of conscious brain functions.

The neocortex is the center of higher-order thinking, learning, and memory.

The cerebellum is responsible for the body's balance, posture, and the coordination of movement.

The human brain controls the central nervous system by way of the cranial nerves and spinal cord, the peripheral nervous system and regulates virtually all human activity.

The human brain is made up of over 100 billion nerve cells with each brain cell connected to around 10,000 other cells, which equals around 1000 trillion connections in your brain.

The brain can be divided into three basic units:

Studies of the Human Brain:

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been fascinated by the brain, but until recently they viewed the brain as nearly incomprehensible. Now, however, the brain is beginning to relinquish its secrets.

Scientists have learned more about the brain in the last 10 years than in all previous centuries because of the accelerating pace of research in neurological and behavioral science and the development of new research techniques. As a result, Congress named the 1990s the Decade of the Brain.

At the forefront of research on the brain and other elements of the nervous system is the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which conducts and supports scientific studies in the United States and around the world.

Glossary of words used to define various parts and actions relating to the human brain.

There are more named components to the human brain than you may think, as per usual medical naming most of the glossary of terms used to describe parts of the brain are from Latin.

Quick Facts: Brain

Q - How much oxygen does the brain need to stay "conscious"

A - An adults brain requires around 20% of the body's oxygen.

Q - How much blood is needed by the brain

A - Approximately 20% of the blood flowing from the heart is pumped to the brain. The brain needs constant blood flow in order to keep up with the heavy metabolic demands of the neurons.

Q - Does the brain work at the Speed of Light

A - No, far from it.. View the full list of Human Brain Facts.

Statistics: Human Brain




Latest The Human Brain Publications

  1. Musical Anhedonia - When People Do Not Like Music
    How does the brain of people who do not like music work? New study explains brain mechanisms associated to lack of sensitivity to music.
  2. Do Males or Females Have Better Memory?
    Study proves middle-aged women outperform age-matched men on all memory measures, although memory does decline as women enter postmenopause.
  3. Does Human Brain Size Matter- Cracking the Brain's Genetic Code
    USC scientists are cracking the genetic code of the human brain, discovering how variations in DNA affect the structure of our brains.
  4. Woman With Amnesia Defies Conventional Memory Knowledge
    Conventional wisdom about memory firmly separates declarative knowledge, memories about facts, from memories for skills, or muscle memory.
  5. Cognitive Neuroscience Society Test Brain Training Claims
    Cognitive neuroscientists are rigorously testing potential benefits of brain training tools.


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