You are reading the right article if you are wondering, what color is the human brain? The human brain is perhaps the most impressive part of the human body, and it has a lot of mysteries and stories to tell. It is the center of all bodily activity and is still heavily researched.
Even with modern technology and decades of research, we still don’t know much about the human brain.
Despite this, there is vast knowledge, and we understand how the human brain works. Here are some details you might not have known about the brain;
What Color Is The Human Brain?
The brain is black, white, and pinkish-gray while alive, owing to its components. Most of the outer parts of the brain are made of gray matter, which gives it its color. White matter is 60% of the brain, while gray matter takes 40%.
The tissue of a fresh brain is pinkish-white because myelin makes up most of the lipid tissue, which has a dense network of capillaries.
What Are The Major Parts Of The Brain?
The brain controls every aspect of the human body, including digestion, excretion, movement, senses, thoughts, and everything else that makes us human.
As you can imagine, it has a lot of components to allow it to effectively control all of these aspects. We can break these components down into major categories as follows;
The cerebrum is the front part of the brain that is mostly white, with gray matter on the outside and white matter at the center. It is the largest part of the brain responsible for initiating and coordinating movement.
It controls all the major muscle groups in the body, so it has to be big to do it right. It regulates body temperature, judgment, speech, reasoning, thinking, problem-solving, emotions, and learning.
It controls all the senses, including vision, hearing, touch, and taste, making this the most crucial part of the brain.
2. Cerebral Cortex
Cortex is a Latin word for bark, and it was used to describe the outer gray matter covering the cerebrum.
The cerebral cortex has a large surface area since it has folds, allowing it to make up almost half of the brain’s weight.
The cerebral cortex is divided into two halves; the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, while the left hemisphere controls the right side.
The cortex is covered with ridges called gyri, and folds called sulci, allowing it to have a massive surface area but take only a small space.
The two halves meet at the interhemispheric or medial longitudinal fissure, a prominent, deep sulcus from the front to the back of the head.
The halves communicate and coordinate through a C-shaped structure of white matter and nerve pathways called the corpus callosum. This is the center of the cerebrum and is crucial for properly coordinating the eyes, legs, and hands.
The brainstem is in the middle of the brain and connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It comprises the midbrain, pons, and medulla, all with unique tasks.
- Midbrain/ mesencephalon. The midbrain is a complex structure with many neuron clusters, neural pathways, and other structures. These structures facilitate hearing, movement, and calculating responses to environmental changes.
It also has the substantia nigra, which enables movement and coordination as it is rich in dopamine neurons. This is the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease.
- Pons. The pons are the source of 4 of the 12 cranial nerves, enabling activities like chewing, tear production, focusing vision, blinking, hearing, balance, and making facial expressions.
It offers a vital connection between the midbrain and the medulla, which’sthat is why it is named after a Latin word that means bridge.
- Medulla. The medulla is at the bottom of the brain and makes contact with the spinal cord, which is vital for survival. Medulla functions control heart rhythm, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, breathing, and blood flow.
It also produces reflexes like coughing, swallowing, sneezing, and vomiting. The spinal cord extends from the medulla and goes downwards to the rest of the body, supported by vertebrae.
The cerebellum is a fist-sized portion at the back of the head that has earned it the name “little brain.” It is below the occipital and temporal lobes above the brainstem and has two hemispheres.
The outer portion has neurons, and the inner part communicates with the cerebral cortex. Its primary function is to control voluntary muscle movements and maintain posture. New studies examine its role in thoughts, social behavior, addiction, schizophrenia, and autism.
How do neurons work?
The brain comprises about 86 billion neurons, and understanding how these work will give you a good idea of how the entire brain works.
The brain is complex, and even the most advanced scientists don’t fully understand how it works, but here is a brief breakdown;
Each neuron in the brain has three main parts: the cell body, axon, and dendrites. The brain has ions with electrical charges, which move in and out of the neuron to affect its charge.
The neuron’s components are negatively charged to the outside of the body when the neuron is at rest with a charge of about -70 millivolts of electricity.
When a stimulus comes in, like hearing or touching something hot, it causes the neuron to take in more positive ions.
This makes the neuron more positively charged, and once it gets to a threshold of about -55mV, an action potential occurs and causes the neuron to fire. The action potential travels down the axon to the axon terminal.
The electrical signals will be converted to chemical signals at the axon terminal. The signal, called a neurotransmitter, will travel across the neurons’ synapses. Neurotransmitters cross the synapse and attach to receptors on the dendrites of nearby neurons.
The nerve impulses then travel down specific pathways to get to the areas of the central nervous system that trigger them. Synaptic transmissions can be excitatory or inhibitory based on the neurotransmitter generated from the brain.
Most behaviors will manifest in motor actions, while others simply allow the body to consciously perceive the stimuli.
This perception can trigger a focus of attention or a deeper evaluation of the behavioral consequences of the stimuli.
How To Improve Your Brain’s Health and Performance
The brain is remarkable in many ways but needs extra support to keep all aspects working correctly.
Certain practices will help keep your brain healthy and improve its performance. Here are some of the best ones to try;
1. Stimulate the brain
Brainy activities stimulate new connections between never cells and can help the brain grow new cells. This will build the functional reserve and manage future cell loss. Any mentally challenging activity will help improve your brain.
Read books, solve a Rubik’s cube, play chess, solve word problems, and experiment with new things.
2. Get physical exercise
Research has proven that using muscles stimulates the brain. Regular exercise increases the number of blood vessels that supply oxygen to the brain.
Exercise also causes the development of new brain cells and increases the synapses. This makes your brain more adaptive and efficient, improving your cognitive abilities even in old age.
Exercise also lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which helps your brain and heart. You will also eliminate stress and anxiety while exercising, a bonus for the brain.
3. Improve your diet
Good nutrition can help your brain by providing the necessary nutrients to improve its functionality. Foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, unsaturated oil, and proteins reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in old age.
Diabetes puts you at risk of dementia, and you can prevent it by eating the proper diet, working out, and staying lean.
You can use medication to get control if your blood sugar remains high and make any necessary lifestyle changes for your heart and brain.
4. Improve your cholesterol
High levels of LDL will increase your risk of getting dementia when you get older. Avoid tobacco and eat the right food in your 20s and adulthood to decrease cholesterol levels. Avoid smoking, and if you need help, ask your doctor for medication.
High blood pressure in midlife will increase the risk of cognitive decline as you age, so change your lifestyle to keep the pressure low.
Your brain should have a consistent blood supply throughout your life to keep it healthy and developing as it should.
You now know what color is the human brain, and you have a basic understanding of what makes it up. The human brain is one of the most fascinating things about our species, and even with centuries of research, there is still a lot we don’t know.
The brain controls every aspect of who we are as people, from our physical capabilities and actions to our thoughts and emotions.
This makes it an important asset to take good care of. A healthy brain will serve you well into your old age, and you will have the best life.