Development of a Human Brain
Nerve cells, called neurons, are the fundamental elements of the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of about 100 billion neurons (10 to the power 11). The brain grows at an amazing rate during development. At times during brain development, 250,000 neurons are added every minute. At birth, almost all the neurons that the brain will ever have are present. The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby’s development. A newborn’s brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight. But by age 3, it has grown dramatically by producing billions of cells and hundreds of trillions of connections, or synapses, between these cells. Parents should grab the chance of the first years to help their children get off to a good start and establish personalized patterns for life-long learning.
Brain Functions and Corresponding Fingers
Medical research has shown that a newborn has approximately 14 billion brain cells. This shows little difference from an adult’s total. Further studies have also revealed that 60% of the cells are developed before the age of 3 and 80% before the age of 8. Therefore, it is imperative to develop these cerebral cells during the foetus state and follow through the postnatal period; providing a conducive environment to influence the development to achieve the full cerebral potential.
The development of intellect potential is a complex process. It is not how many cells there are but rather the interconnectivity of these cells in the whole cerebral network. Only 5% of the hundreds of millions of brain cells are probably developed. This leaves the other 95% untapped. Therefore, the development potential is unlimited. Every animal you can think of — mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians — has a brain. But the human brain is unique. Although it’s not the largest, it gives us the power to speak, imagine and problem solve. It is truly an amazing organ.
The brain performs an incredible number of tasks including the following:
- It controls body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.
- It accepts a flood of information about the world around you from your various senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching).
- It handles your physical movement when walking, talking, standing or sitting.
- It lets you think, dream, reason and experience emotions.
All of these tasks are coordinated, controlled and regulated by an organ that is about the size of a small head of cauliflower. Your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves make up a complex, integrated information-processing and control system known as your central nervous system. In tandem, they regulate all the conscious and unconscious facets of your life. The scientific study of the brain and nervous system is called neuroscience or neurobiology.
Every part of the brain—and the rest of the nervous system, for that matter—contain neurons (more than 100 billion of them in all). Neurons are nerve cells with some very special properties. Each one has dendrites that gather information transmitted from other cells, and an axon that transmits information to other cells. The average neuron communicates with between 1000 and 10,000 other cells.
Neurons don’t touch when they communicate. Instead, they secrete chemical molecules called neurotransmitters that ferry nerve impulses across the tiny gaps, or synapses, to other neurons. How many neurotransmitters are secreted is important. If many are secreted, the message travels very strongly. If few are secreted, the message is weak.
The information that your neurons transmit comes from many sources. Let’s use a finger touch as an example. When you touch something with your finger, nerve impulses immediately “fire” from your finger, to your brain. These impulses travel from one neuron to the next astonishingly quickly. Once in the brain, the information contained in these impulses is deciphered, with the result that you can identify what you touched.
The importance of our neural network and the information it conveys to us cannot be overstated. These impulses contain the information that we need to make sense of the world around us—to figure out what is what, what goes with what, and much, much more. When this system breaks down, the result can be that we begin to lose ourselves, as in schizophrenics and Alzheimer’s patients.