Your brain is a three-pound glob of jelly that is covered by our bony skull to protect it. It contains 100 billion nerve cells that pulsate with electricity. The chemicals, called neurotransmitters, flow between the nerve cells Ther are hundreds of nerve messengers in your brain. Disease like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia paralyze the nerves and depress the emotions. This also affects the important neurotransmitter Dopamine. Lack of proper amounts of Dopamine in our brain is responsible for many diseases.
This knowledge means rapid progress against depression, anxiety, alcoholism, and many other mental and physical illnesses. Evidence has shown that we can keep our brain young with mental exercise. Scientists have been able to map the brain and follow chemical reactions of thought. They have taken movies of the electrical current and blood flow. This has revealed how the nerve endings in your brain talk to each other. They know that the lines of communication involve electricity and chemistry.
The brain cells are less than a thousandth of an inch wide and look like an inkblot with long hairy tendrils called “dendrites growing out of the cell’s body. The “axon” fiber is longer than the rest, which ends in terminals that connect the dendrites. The “axon” can reach from your brain all the way to your lower back. Axons find the dendrites of other cells and approach each other to within a millionth of an inch. The two ends lying close form a synopsis/contact.
If the nerve endings become active, an electrical pulse travels down the axon and when the pulse reaches the synopsis, neurotransmitters flow out of the axon terminal and are absorbed on the end triggering the second nerve cell to discharge an electrical pulse. Starting from the electrical discharge of a single cell in a tenth of a second your brain becomes a sea of flowing chemicals and electrical brain waves that can be measured with a test called an EEG.
The complexity of the brain is amazing, with a tangle of 100 billion cells. Each cell may have thousands of connections with other cells in your brain, making 100 trillion. Your brain then boosts more connections than all the computers now operating in the world.
There is a tiny bump on the surface of the dendrite called a receptor. This contains a receptor for an opiate but your brain does not contain opium so it makes an opium-like chemical, or nature’s pain killer, called enkephalins to dampen the pain when you hurt. As more medication is developed to block the opiate effect thus blocking the “pleasures” from addiction and the transmission of the pain signals in the same way.
Our brains also control our thinking and feelings. Scans have shown a difference in the blood flow between the right and left brain when one has a panic attack. Research is identifying different parts of the brain for thoughts and emotions. In general, the right side of your brain expresses emotions and feelings. The left side of your brain thinks and figures things out. Each side controls the other. The left side prevents the right side from bursting out with emotion. Damage to the left side from a stroke causes the emotional center to be set free, thus you are depressed.
Studies of brain structure show, properly stimulated, your brain can continue to develop in old age. Mental exercises at ALL ages can make your brain think better.
It is hoped that with increasing knowledge and understanding your brain and behavior, we will learn to live in peace with “ourselves”.