• Pawani Chauhan

Brain: complex computer in you.

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Brain is the central organ of the human body. Our life emerges from these billions of zapping cells inside this 1.5kg organ. It is a part of our body which is vast but only weighs about 2% of the human body. In the brain, everything is local, every specific area has a specific function. It is a mysterious part of the human body and digging into it is some other kind of quest.

So, about this strange computer inside our skull, which basically does every single thing in our life, is definitely going to be interesting as a cartoon we used to watch as a kid even though it didn’t really make any sense.

One question we always come across is why this most complicated computer on earth is so wrinkly? it is because these grooves and folds increase the surface area of our brain and if we would spread it. I guess we would actually look like hammered humans.

Now coming to more of the scientific part, let’s understand what it is and how it is formed.

Around the third week of pregnancy, embryonic ectoderm forms a thickened strip called the neural plate. The caudal end forms into the spinal cord; while the broader end into prosencephalon; the less border middle part into mesencephalon and the narrow end form into the rhombencephalon; which is our forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain.

Now our forebrain, also knows as prosencephalon, divides into Telencephalon and Diencephalon; midbrain, also known as mesencephalon, remains undivided; hindbrain, also knows as Rhombencephalon, divides into Metencephalon and Myelencephalon.

Some changes are more dramatic than others, telencephalon turns into cerebral hemisphere while mesencephalon, metencephalon and myelencephalon turn into cerebrum and brainstem.

The diencephalon is interbrain.

The human brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It consists of 4 main regions: Cerebrum, Diencephalon, Cerebellum, and Brain stem.

The largest section of the brain is a cerebral hemisphere, it makes up over 3/4 of the human brain’s volume. It has control over our higher functions like learning, reasoning, speech and also over senses like sight, hearing, and smell. Every region of the cerebrum has a specific function, as I have said earlier, everything is localised in our brain. It is divided into four lobes – frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobe. It is covered with the cerebral cortex, which is a grey matter on the cerebrum. It is grey as the nerves in this part lack insulation which makes other parts of brain appear white. It makes 2-3rd of the brain mass and cover most part of the it.

Under the cerebrum is the second largest part of our brain, known as the cerebellum. It is like our little brain. It is part of our hindbrain. The cerebellum is located in the posterior cranial fossa. It maintains our muscle movements and helps in balancing and our posture. It does not initiate the movement but mainly responsible for the coordination of our muscles. It carries signals to other parts of the brain and to the spinal cord. It is also involved in cognitive functions such as attention and language.

The third part of the human brain is the brain stem, lies in front of the cerebellum and anchors the brain to the spinal cord. It includes the midbrain which controls movement, pons which controls is sensory information and medulla oblongata which controls the motor and sensory pathways. All united, control the vital bodily functions.

The fourth part of the human brain is diencephalon which is our interbrain and consists of the thalamus, hypothalamus, epithalamus and the sub-thalamus. It is makes up the core of our brain. They help in governing our sensations, weight regulations, energy and our instinctual behaviours.

Human Brain makes up a small percentage in the human body but plays a crucial role in our life. Neither the biggest brain or the smallest brain is different, nor the complexed or less complexed is, the difference is in the number of neurons in our cerebral cortex. On an average, there are 16 billions of neurons in our cerebral cortex which is why we are here and other organisms on earth are not. This is what makes us different and unique.

All the feelings, dreams, memories, and experiences arise from this strange jelly and wrinkled computer inside our skulls. How weird is that that everything we feel seems soft but are electrochemical impulses which emerge from this neural material.

The story of the brain doesn’t end here, it is vast field and is not restricted here. More is to come on this. Until then, this is all we need to know about this three pound neural material that coloured our lavished life.
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