The brain is the center for communication within the body and its health impacts our thinking, processing, movement, mindfulness, and memory. Rich with complexity, the brain and nervous system gives us the ability to both contemplate the meaning of life and physically drink a glass of water.
With enough wattage to literally power a light bulb all day, our brains are powerful and yet vulnerable to inner and outer negative influences. To increase its protection, the brain has evolved with two main bodyguards, the skull, which helps protect it from external injuries and the blood-brain barrier, which helps protect it from “foreign substances.” Unfortunately, that barrier can be compromised by radiation, trauma, infection, hypertension, microwaves, and concentrated substances such as drugs.
To help motivate you in caring for your brain and nervous system, here’s some key information, including anatomy, fascinating facts, stress factors, plus potential symptoms to be aware of for a compromised brain and nervous system …
THE ANATOMY OF THE BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM INCLUDES THE:
- Central Nervous System/CNS: brain, spinal cord, and retina
- Peripheral Nervous System/PNS: nerves and neurons
The human brain is categorized into multiple lobes:
- frontal lobe -at the front of the brain, where motor function, reasoning, problem-solving, and expressive language occur
- parietal lobe -in the center of the brain, where sensation like touch, pressure, and pain are processed, and body position and skills like handwriting are managed
- occipital lobe -in the back of the brain, where visual processing occurs from the eyes to the brain
- temporal lobe -at the bottom of the brain, where the process of hearing and memory are centered
Areas of the brain include the:
- cerebrum -composed of the right and left hemisphere, the cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and performs higher functions such as interpreting vision, hearing, sensation as well as fine motor control, reasoning, learning, emotions, and speech
- cortex -where thinking and voluntary movement begins
- cerebellum -plays an important role in motor control (like balance and posture) and possibly some cognitive function such as language and attention
- dura -the thick membrane that surrounds the spinal cord and the brain to help protect the CNS
- spinal cord -extending from the base of the brain to the lower back, the spinal cord primarily functions as a transmission for nerves cells and is also the center for many reflex coordinations
- brainstem -located under the limbic system and consisting of the midbrain, medulla, and pons, the brainstem is where fine motor skills, reflexes, sleep, breathing, blood pressure, and heartbeat are supervised
- basal ganglia -where messaging is coordinated between multiple areas of the brain
- cranium – helps protect the brain from external injuries (also known as the skull)
The cerebrum contains the limbic system (often called the emotional brain) which is categorized into four sections:
- thalamus -deep inside the forebrain, this significant area of gray matter performs sensory and motor functions. In fact, all sensory input, minus olfaction (smelling), enters the thalamus first
- hypothalamus -responsible for regulating the pituitary gland (for hormone production), the hypothalamus correlates with hunger, thirst, emotions, homeostasis, and circadian rhythms (for wake-sleep cycles)
- amygdala -positioned in the temporal lobe, the amygdala correlates with memory, emotion, and fear
- hippocampus -located in the temporal lobe, the hippocampus is where short-term memories are converted into long-term memories, assisting with learning, memory building, and recalling spatial relationships
Fascinating Facts About the Brain & Nervous System
- The brain weighs about 3 lbs., approximately 85% coming from the cerebrum.
- Around 75% of the brain is water while 60% or so of it is fat. This is possible because fat cells contain water.
- About 100 billion neurons are contained in the brain.
- The brain generates enough wattage during the day, 10-23 watts, to power a light bulb.
- Responsible for consciousness and language, the neocortex makes up about 76% of the brain.
- The brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in the body.
- Without oxygen, the brain begins to die in less than 10 minutes.
Source: “100 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the Human Brain” Nursing Assistant Central NursingAssistantCentral.com Accessed September 15, 2015. http://www.nursingassistantcentral.com/blog/2008/100-fascinating-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-human-brain/
Holistic Secret: Meditation prompts the growth of grey matter in certain areas of the brain, increasing stress resilience, graceful aging, and a sense of relaxation and wellness
Potential Symptoms of Compromised Brain & Nervous System
- Altered behavior and/or socialization
- Altered speech
- Decreased alertness
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of controlling eye gaze
- Loss of recognizing colors, objects, and words
- Memory loss and challenges
- Parkinson’s disease
- Persistent fatigue
- Persistent numbness
- Related cancers/diseases/disorders
Note: Seizures can sometimes be linked to amino acid deficiencies.
Stress Factors for Brain & Nerve Health
- Being overweight
- Chronic inflammation
- Drugs (including alcohol)
- Excessive sweets and raised blood glucose
- Head trauma (wearing a helmet during appropriate sports and activities is highly recommended by health and medical experts)
- Inadequate physical and mental exercise
- Inadequate sleep
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Poor diet
- Related cancers/diseases/disorders
- Toxic Fumes
- Type II Diabetes
Note: Long-term stress can rewire the brain.
Holistic Secret: Brain cells, function, and even structure can be altered from excessive stress. By listening to, or playing relaxing music, both adults and children can reduce stress, feel calmer, and simultaneously improve brain organization and function.
Now more than ever, we need to reduce dietary and chemical toxins, increase stress resiliency, and merge or brain-centered thinking with our heart to foster true wellness.
Find out which foods, herbs, and healthy habits are best for the brain, the nervous system, and overall mind-body health in my Radiant Health program.
My mission: As a Holistic Health Coach & Eco Expert, I’m dedicated to leading you straight to the core of what it takes to enjoy a new level of vitality, desired weight loss, sustainability, and detoxification. Enjoy my transformative programs and experience true health with true purpose!
 Planet Science. Planet-Science.com. “Brain Power! How powerful is your brain?” Accessed September 15th, 2015. http://www.planet-science.com/categories/under-11s/our-world/2012/01/brain-power!.aspx