The brain is an incredible organ, and according to recent research it’s even more complex that first thought. A single human brain is believed to have more molecular-scale switches than all of the internet connections, routers and computers in the world.
So here we have 5 mind blowing mysteries surround the brain that are sure to leave you thinking. From the mysteries of dreaming to the unanswerable question of “What is reality?”
The human brain contains billions of neurons. No one knows exactly how many, but it’s estimated there may be about 86 billion (for comparison’s sake, there are thought to be 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way). About half of those neurons are located in your brain’s cerebellum, which is about half the volume of your central nervous system.
How these neurons interact with each other, forming trillions of connections, forms the basis for how your brain works, but there are many more questions than answers.
Some of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the mind include:
- Consciousness: You are aware of your surroundings, capable of self-evaluation, thoughts, emotions, and other experiences. How consciousness works, in particular how the brain leads to subjective experiences that are unique to each of us, is a mystery.
- Personality: How do personalities develop? Are they a result of your environment or are you born with one? Personalities can be drastically altered by brain surgery or trauma, but the brain’s role in personality is poorly understood.
- Memories: How your brain creates, stores, and retrieves memories is largely a mystery, particularly how you’re able to recall a memory at will.
- Intelligence: How your brain’s neurons work together to solve problems, and why people have different levels of intelligence and styles of learning is another mystery.
- Sleep and dreams: Sleep loss results in the loss of neurons, and proper sleep is important for brain detoxification. During sleep, your brain cells actually shrink by about 60 percent, which allows for more efficient waste removal. However, what exactly occurs in your brain while you sleep, and why you have dreams, is not well understood.
While much of the human brain remains a mystery, there are some factors that are known to be good for brain health. If you want to learn more about the mysteries of your mind, check out “The English Surgeon” documentary, which goes into even more detail about Henry Marsh’s fascinating career and research on the human brain.