Brains Break !

This section is about the human brain. It can and it does break. It helps to know some basic stuff. But start with this:

there are more connections in one adult brain than there are stars


     in the sky?
     - no -

        in the galaxy?
         - no -

There are more connections in one adult brain than there are stars
in the entire universe.

But, don't take my word for it.    Go.           Go out there.

Count those stars.

( starting with 1... )

pssssst . . .    Are they gone? Did all the morons go out counting? Good. Now I can unload my peeve without somebody in my face.

But first...

Some grammar school physics.

Slap water and you generate waves. That is very visual of energy in motion.  A big hand slapping harder generates some more energetic waves. What counts more, the size of the hand? - Or - how fast it slaps?

The energy of the waves is increased stepwise by hand size (mass). But the energy goes up exponentially with the speed of the slap. Things that go fast deliver huge energy packages. Shoot yourself in the foot with a small bullet from a MODERN high velocity rifle and you generate waves in your blood vessels that can rip the valves from your heart.

Energy! Keep track of energy. End lesson: At any given velocity mass increases energy 1 to 1. But speed increases it exponentially. A high velocity anything can do real damage (measured by how much speed it lost).

Easy question. Who are the best kickers out there? Who can really rifle a ball the hardest furthest fastest? Yeah footballers (soccer). American football teams scour the world for soccer players with that skill. That kick imparts furious energy2 into that ball - POW!!!! Off it goes at blinding speed .. to be stopped by some kid's  . . .   head?


TROpenSamplePastelhat is - energy wise - a direct kick in the head? Double duh? And while you are telling your kid what a GREAT stop that was, he or she is trying to figure out just who it is that you are? You sound familiar. What's that ringing sound?

Brains are gelatinous. You really don't want to be stopping high energy objects with your head.

[RANT BEGINS HERE] Why have a ball game that disallows using arms? A restaurant that disallows using your lips? I angered you? I dared question your favorite sport? Hey! Shouldn't YOU not be here but out counting stars?

So bashing kiddie heads is NOT a good idea. But ... ready for this?


What? Noooooo? Helmets are good? They are - uh - the answer?

To what question? Padding prevents SKIN contusions, bruises, muscle bangy surface hurty not so dangerous stuff. Tell a kid in street clothing to run as fast as he can and crash into that telephone pole. A tepid run follows with a broad and hand cushioned impact.

Put shoulder pads and a helmet on him and repeat that request. POW! He might even do damage to the pole. If that pole is somebody else's kid then for sure he will. If that other kid is also padded and has cleats preventing his feet from giving ground, no - no bruises - just a destroyed knee joint or a brain with high energy waves bouncing back and forth inside his shaken liquid and gelatin filled skull.

Energy. It has got to go somewhere. If a kid hurling down a field hits another and a moment later nothing is moving, that energy, all of it, went somewhere, none of it into thin air. Hopefully it is one of those unimportant parts of the body - like -  mmmmm - the brain? Boys don't use theirs anyhow. So who will miss a few neurologic structures here or there? Allow fists held near the head for the 'header' part? The ones out counting won't get it... but offer them a treat maybe? Blood pudding?

So with THAT off my chest, let's dig into the brain. Got your spoons?

Yup. Lots of neurons connected to other neurons. But somehow cell bodies have a key role. Neurons are those cells with long axons that go great distances and branch all over the place, true. But the cell bodies seem to need their own space near each other and plenty of it. The cell bodies make up the gray matter. The axon extensions going afar are insulated with white fatty stuff (myelin, which speeds up the conduction) and are seen collectively as white matter.

Having a nice smooth brain is NOT nice. Somehow, the mantle of gray matter needs wide sheets that just don't fit neatly inside the skull. So that outer cellular surface folds and refolds to greatly increase surface area. That alone tells us that somehow, some way, things are sorted  and associated spatially. Every increment in brain power seems to require more folding. The brain needs a big cell rich sorting table to do cut and paste drawing from many sources to put copies in many destinations. So, if the surface gets bigger won't some things take longer to communicate? Yes. But the difference can be reduced if the surface is essentially a sphere which makes the longer passages similar. So sort on the surface and communicate through the middle. Not a bad idea. I'll vote for it.

But as a slave to fashion you still want a nice smooth brain (lissencephaly)? How can you get one? The lateral spread of dividing cells (migration) and branching, which leads to connections and folding, can be poisoned. Ethanol during pregnancy does the trick quite well. All that illegal party crap that seems to sell so well also contains some really effective brain poisons.

Health nuts, don't smirk. There are popular herbal ingredients that are also quite toxic. Natural does NOT mean good. And don't think for a minute that we are at the top of the food chain. When you have an infection, you are food.

So think broadly when you approach neuroscience. There is no little person inside who sorts out what is happening. What is happening IS the little person, you. Yes. Those things that are happening in there ARE YOU! So watch what you eat or snort. This is called life and we don't get second chance avatars.

'Mind expanding' is another name for inability to discern. Misconstruing sensation is not something to choose. If you must see lots of beautiful colors - go to a paint store.

Try this. Buy a really expensive BMW? A Ferrari? A Rolls? Really push your financial ability so that you have 'skin in the game'. Then go pick some nice weeds and oh whatever is going around the music world (where great bathtub science is found) and put that into your gas tank.

Ferrari expanding! Ooooo BMW's reaching out to touch the universe? I don't think so. What's it cost to flush out a Rolls? But the cars - CAN - be fixed. Brains? No. You break'em you own'em.


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