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Tuesday 28.02.2017 | Name days: Skaidrīte, Justs, Skaidra

What percentage of our brain do we use in our everyday lives?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWe use only 10% of our brain – many well-educated people who watch films about minds put into ‘overdrive’.

«Let’s think for a second – this myth means that 90% of our brain remains inactive in our daily lives. Is this possible? The human brain is a unique, constantly changing, adapting and analysing organ. Its function is truly wondrous,» – says RigaBrain specialist M.Psych, Linda Tiruma.

FOX has compiled five counter-arguments to oppose the established myth about our brain functionality:

Even the simplest functions use more than 10% of our brain

Neuroscientists describe brain activity with areas of the brain that perform active functions – chemical or electrical signals sent from neuron to neuron. Everyday activity uses more than 10% of the brain. This includes automatic functions of our body. Breathing, for example, uses 12% of our brain.

«Unless there are any injuries or neurological damage, we use our brain potential to the fullest extent. Scientists have proven the function of each separate region of the brain. In addition, all brains remain active at all times, especially during sleep,» – Tiruma explains.

Brains are complicated and edacious

The brain of an adult human weighs around 1,300-1,400 g. If we truly use only one-tenth of this amount, there would be only 140 of brain matter left. That’s about the size of a sheep’s brain.

Nerve cells – neurons – process and store information. They form approximately 10% of all cells present in the brain. The rest consists of neuroglial cells that serve as protection for neurons and balance the weight of the brain. The brain also uses a lot of oxygen and energy – about 20% of the body’s total energy. If those 90% were truly useless, humans would have evolved with smaller, more efficient brains.

A living organism is not irrational

Let’s remember that unused cells become atrophied with time. For example, if a broken arm remains encased in a cast for several weeks, it takes quite a bit of effort to restore the function of atrophied muscles. Brain parts that do not receive enough oxygen and blood become atrophied as well. Even the slightest damage to the brain can significantly impact its function. For example, Parkinson’s disease or a stroke can cause serious damage and leave a person an invalid. If we used only one-tenth our brain, those illnesses would affect us at a much smaller scale.

Parts of the brain intensely exchange information and ‘learn’

Research performed in this field now challenges assumptions that remained undisputed for years. For example, it is believed that each section of the brain is responsible for a specific process. Researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded that even if we perform the simplest of actions, different regions of the brain become active and start exchanging information. It would not happen if we used only a part of our brain.

«Moreover, more and more research proves that the human brain ‘learns’ new things all the time. We can continue doing that even at a very old age. In addition, under certain circumstances, functional parts of the brain can partially take over the function of the damaged parts of the brain,» – explains RigaBrain specialist.

Healthy hobbies and brain ‘exercise’ help develop the mind

Of course, we could achieve more if we used our abilities to the full extent. This has no relation to neuroscience, but rather the person’s own behavior. One thing is clear: if a person does not use his or her skills, they will remain ‘asleep’.

«To harmonize brain activity, it is worth keeping in mind multiple factors. Here they are: healthy sleep, balanced diet, regular physical activities, regular learning activities, stress management and communication with other people. If people take care of those aspects in their lives, they can be certain their brains function optimally,» – Tiruma admits.

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