It’s All in Your Head

Happy No Brainer Day! If you aren’t familiar with the phrase “no-brainer” it’s basically any decision or activity that requires little to no thought. The term no-brainer is misleading though. To make a decision that would meet the criteria, we would literally have to forgo any brain activity, which is impossible unless you’re dead. The brain is like a computer; it holds all of a person’s memories and controls all of their thoughts and actions. It uses more than 20% of the body’s energy, more than any other organ. Basically anything you do, from opening your eyes in the morning to thinking about what you want for dinner requires brain activity. So we’re celebrating National No Brainer Day by doing the thinking for you  and putting together five facts you probably didn’t know about the greatest organ in the human body.

5.) The idea that there is a right brain/left brain divide is a myth and the debate must end now. The world has been divided by the belief that every person fits into one of two categories; the left brain logicals or the right brain intuitives. That ideology is wrong and science can prove it. The brain does not have the characteristics many believe it does. The left and right halves have different functions but they are extremely subtle. For example: the left side processes what we hear and produces language and the right side processes shapes and faces. The halves of the brain work together; one is not dominant over the other.

4.) Scientists believe the creation of new memories strengthen connections and develops new connections between neurons (nerve cells). There are millions of these connections in the human brain, forming an increasingly complex network that allows us to think and feel.

3.) Brain Freezes are a thing and there’s a scientific name for it; sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Say that five times fast; if you can even figure out how to say it once, we’re still trying. Scientists say a brain freeze is just a headache. They explain that when you drink or eat something really cold really fast, you are changing the temperature in the back of your throat where the carotid artery is, which delivers blood to the brain. It causes an expansion and contraction of the artery, which the brain interprets as pain.

2.) The man who performed Albert Einstein’s autopsy stole his brain and kept it in a jar for 20 years. Pathologist Dr. Thomas Harvey was on-call the night that the father of modern physics died. Harvey did not have consent to perform the autopsy or keep the brain but that’s exactly what he did. He told Einstein’s son, Hans, that his brain would be used for science. However, Harvey had the brain cut into over 200 pieces; some of which were preserved correctly, some of them he kept in a jar under a beer cooler. The doctor would eventually lose his license. That’s a no-brainer there.

1.) Some scientists believe there’s a possibility a mutated virus could attack the brain. There is evidence that people have shown zombie-like symptoms after their brain was attacked by a viral contagion. Judging by the density of the world population, it’s plausible that infected individuals could destroy whole cities, thus the Zombie Apocalypse could happen. Don’t panic! Scientists say it’s possible, not probable. But just in case, they’re studying the way all parts of the brain are affected by these viruses in order to dodge any potential threat.

— Hillary Terhune