The Weird and Wonderful World of the Brain

By Tyler Jacobs – March 03, 2021
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The brain is more complex than any supercomputer, making millions of calculations per second to allow us to live our lives freely. There has been much research conducted into this amazing organ, on living subjects and also on brains that have been donated to science after the death of their owners. Here are just a small selection of the brain’s fascinating workings that research has uncovered.

The Speed of the Brain

Research into the speed at which the brain works has uncovered some truly awesome data. Scientists at MIT showed subjects a picture for an incredibly small amount of time, to see if they recognized what was in the image. They thought the brain might require 100 milliseconds to work out what was in the image, but in some cases, it needed just 13 milliseconds.

The Power Behind the Brain

It’s estimated that our brains use up about 20 percent of the energy we need to make it through the day. This equates to about 400 calories, which powers its consumption of approximately 20 watts. The energy is used to send and receive signals from around the body and for the brain to maintain and fix itself if anything goes wrong. 

The Brain Ages with the Body

The brain is made up of about 86 billion cells, which are connected by 10 trillion synapses. We learn new skills and develop knowledge by forming new connections between the two, bolstering old connections which we still need, and discarding old, unneeded connections. Much of this has happened by the time we’ve spent our first decade on earth, but we’re still able to develop new cells and connections after that, only not quite as much.