How much do you really know about your brain? This month’s Fact or Fiction features some unusual information about that most elusive of organs – the brain. Can you tell which of the following statements are true, and which are false?
1. The brain is more active during dreaming than wakefulness.
Truth! According to Harvard researchers, “During REM sleep (the stage of sleep most associated with dreaming) there is an increase in the firing rate of most neurons throughout the brain, as compared to non-REM sleep. In fact, the brain in REM sleep can even be more active than when we are awake. Patterns of brain activity during REM sleep are more random and variable, similar to during wakefulness. This pattern of brain activity during REM sleep probably underlies the intense dreaming that occurs during this state.”1
2. The majority of brain cells are neurons.
False! According to a research study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, “[The brain has] 100 billion neurons and 10× more glial cells.”2 What’s a glial cell, you might rightly ask… Glial cells “surround neurons and provide support for and insulation between them. Glial cells are the most abundant cell types in the central nervous system.”3
3. Your brain is larger than your ancestors’ brains.
False! A researcher at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology, Dr. Eiluned Pearce, states: “Our ancestors had larger bodies than us, and needed larger brains to control and maintain those bodies, …and Neanderthals were even larger-bodied than the modern humans living at the same time, so it’s likely they would have needed a lot more neural tissue to control their bigger muscles.”4
4. The brain has more cell types than any other tissue in our body.
Truth! States Hermona Soreq, professor of molecular neuroscience at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences: “Unlike the liver or certain muscles in our body where most of the cells are the same type, the brain is composed of a variety of complicated, interconnected types of cells, one being neurons.”5
5. Reading out loud and reading silently use different brain circuits.
Truth! And… It’s complicated. According to Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute,6 reading happens in layered stages as the brain develops and new neural pathways are formed. Accordingly, “Infants must learn to process sounds. By early kindergarten or preschool, the child must learn phonological processing, which is the ability to manipulate the sounds of language, such as adding or deleting sounds to make words. The child must then learn to read single words and develop the vocabulary necessary to read and understand sentences and paragraphs, and, finally, master the ability to read fluently with reasonable speed.”
6. The harder your brain is working, the larger your brain waves.
False. In fact, the opposite is true. Alpha brain waves, while not the fastest, have the highest amplitude7 and are prominent in deep relaxation. Gamma waves are the fastest and are the most beneficial for intense concentration.8
7. The brain is 73% water, and only 2% dehydration negatively affects attention, memory and other cognitive skills.
Truth. According to the Journal of Biochemistry, the brain and heart are both comprised of 73% water.9 Also, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition states that, “being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills, as well as assessment of the subjective state.”10
8. 90 minutes of sweating can temporarily shrink the brain the equivalency of a full year of aging.
Truth! According to a research study completed in 2011,11 “it was recently observed that dehydration causes shrinkage of brain tissue and an associated increase in ventricular volume. Negative effects of dehydration on cognitive performance have been shown in some but not all studies, and it has also been reported that an increased perceived effort may be required following dehydration.” (Note: the brain returns to its normal size when replenished!)
9. The amygdala – considered the “memory center” of the brain – is significantly larger in cab drivers due to their constant navigation of the many streets they must know.
And the answer is… False! (Did I trick you?) While it is true that the navigational skills of taxi drivers can make a part of their brain more expanded, it is not the amygdala – it is actually the hippocampus.12
National Geographic put out a fascinating article in which they explored the world of London taxi drivers. They are truly the elites of the world when it comes to memory and geographical information! They must pass a stringent test called “The Knowledge” of which the article states, “Forget Mensa and armchair brainteasers. The Knowledge of London is a real-time, street-level test of memorization skills so intense that it physically alters the brains of those who pass it.” Further, “Even… GPS and Google Maps, satellite navigation, or Sat Nav, is no match for a cabbie with The Knowledge.” Only about 1 in 5 candidates actually pass the test – and to put this success rate in perspective, “the percentage of people who successfully complete The Knowledge is roughly the same as that of candidates who make it through the training to become a US Navy Seal.”13
10. We are in conscious control of about 90% of our decisions.
Yuh-NO! Falsity-false-false! Get this: according to scientific research, we are only in control of about 5% of our decisions. A whopping 95% of our decisions are made in the brain stem prior to reaching the conscious mind!14
11. Can Life Force Energy and long distance healing make an impact on brain function?
Yes! In a powerful experiment,15 Life Force Energy was sent via thought intention to brain cancer cells. The results? The cancerous cells were killed while the health, strength, and overall viability of the healthy cells was improved! Furthermore, recent long distance healing studies have been done demonstrating potent, positive impacts from Life Force Energy being sent from across the world.16 The Trivedi Effect® is truly ushering in a new era which merges science, consciousness, and spirit!
Well? How did you do on this month’s Fact or Fiction? I hope you enjoyed this article, and I’ll be back next month with another Fact or Fiction!