Neurotransmitters are those chemical elements of our brain. The human brain is incredibly capable of having 100,000 chemical transmissions a second. Neurochemicals influence thoughts, emotions, moods, and behaviors. Around 50 neurotransmitters have been identified with the more influential one’s being: 1.) serotonin helps with positive mood and it is a mood stabilizer. The body manufactures serotonin with help of the amino acid tryptophan. Serotonin helps with sleep, calmness, and some alleviation of the sadness emotion, 2.) endorphin is a pain relieving neurotransmitter. It is similar to morphine, but actually can be 3 times more powerful. Endorphin can produce euphoria. Endorphins can release sex hormones. One possible way to release endorphin is by extreme exercise (some claim to have a “runner’s high”), and 3.) dopamine is Nature’s pleasure neurotransmitter and it is Nature’s way to motivate behavior. Dopamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter essential for brain functioning. It is found by the decarboxylation of dopa —> an amino acid found in the liver. In later posts, I will present dopamine in the discussion of drug addiction, tolerance, and dependency.
Neurons are nerve cells and the basic unit of the CNS (neurons are also the basic unit of the PNS). Each neuron has: 1.) a soma (body), 2.) dendrites (receive messages), and 3.) axons (send messages). Neurons are the building blocks of our brain along with the neurotransmitters and brain receptors. A half billion years ago we have the first nerve cells that coordinate movement. It was sea anemone and jellyfish that had the original nerve cells (another example of our tie to the Sea). In the pregnant female womb neurons are amazingly being created at the rate of 15 million per hour. That is, for 50 days after conception our embryonic brain goes through a massive explosion of neuronal growth where neurons are increasing by many millions per day. In infancy these nerve cells intertwine into various networks and by the age of four or five the fundamental brain structural networks are in place. The brain has approximately 100 billion neurons stretched through 100,000 miles of blood vessels. There are as many nerve cells as the 100 billion Stars in the Milky Way. Neuronal cells control senses, movement, thought, moods, and various behaviors. Each healthy neuron is linked to tens of thousands of other neurons. Synapses – Each neuron has about 2,000 synapses. Synapses are the junction between neurons where messages are sent (axons), and messages are received (dendrites). Astonishingly, there is an estimated 100 trillion synapses in our brain. In the formation of synapses, the prefrontal brain is one …
Encephalization concerns the amount of brain mass as it relates to total body weight. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin often spoke about the evolutionary aspects of the human brain’s increasing size in relationship to our entire body. Human beings have a greater brain weight than other species. The following Encephalization Quotient compares species. I don’t want to confuse encephalization quotient (EQ), with my later presentation in a post of emotional quotient (EQ). Encephalization Quotient pertains to brain weight to total body weight. The quotient is E = CSr: where E = is the weight of a species brain mass, C = is the cephalization factor, S = is the weight of the total body mass, and r = is the exponential constant: a.) for primates the constant is 0.28, and b.) for mammals the constant is 0.56.
Brain Structure is a complex subject. Our brain is: 1.) intracranial (situated within the cranium), and 2.) intracerebral (contained within the cerebral cortex). The intracerebral brain is made of soft jelly-like fragile tissue with a lot of valleys and folds. The brain is 80% water. The average weight of the adult brain is 3-3.5 lbs, or about 2.4% of total body weight. Our gelatinous brain is a flesh and blood organ where 15-20% of blood flow that leaves the heart goes to the brain. Blood flow to the brain varies according to the activity going on in the brain. When there is elevated neuronal activity, there is an increase in blood flow to replenish glucose –—> a sugar molecular formula of C6H1206. Sugar is a major source of fuel for the brain. In fact, sugar is the only real source the brain uses for energy. Our brain consumes nearly 25% of our bodies total energy. A blood-sugar level increase makes for an upsurge in alertness. Our brain complies with the laws of physics, biology, and metabolism, and that makes the human brain a bio-energetic organ. On a side note: starting in Graduate School I ate a snicker bar an hour before taking a test. Maybe it was wish fulfillment on my part, but I think the ingested sugar from the bar made me more alert in taking tests.
Our brain’s Central Nervous System (CNS) is the primary management center for the human body. The CNS is the command center for all multicellular animals, and has two major structures: 1.) brain (contained within the cranial cavity), and 2.) spinal cord (contained within the spinal cavity). Our head directly balances itself on top of the spinal cord. Future posts will expand on the CNS.
Quantum Cerebrology – I point out that the human brain, especially the cerebral cortex has traditionally been studied as an electrical and neuro-chemical organ. However, I postulate that our brain is really a quantum, electrical, and chemical organ. I created the concept of quantum cerebrology to advance the study of what influence the atomic world has on the neuronic world. We are complex electrical and chemical creatures, but we also have a major underlining quantum component to our neuroanatomy. In fact, it is the quantum micro world of atoms that gives the basis for macro neuroelectricity and neuro-chemistry. Gulley and Mulholland remind us that “quantum is for the micro for the atoms. Atoms make up molecules, molecules make up cells, and cells make up the brain” (2004). I propose that neurotransmitters and the electrical are the progeny of quantum wave-particle. I maintain that quantum entanglement is concerned with how different quantum particles influence one another and then go on and interact and influence the brain’s neurochemical and neuroelectrical components. That is, how do 2, 3, 4, etc. entangled particles interact in the human brain? How does thousands, millions, tens of millions of entangled particles interact in the human brain? How does the physics of the micro influence macro neurological functioning? Amit Goswami said, “the brain-mind is an interactive system both classical and quantum components. These components interact within a basic idealist framework in which consciousness is primary.” (1995) Physics at the classical macro level is the hardware of the brain <–> the software …
The hardware (quantity-size) of our modern human brain has been in place for the past 100-200,000 years. The software (quality-cognition) of our brain has been on display since the dawn of thinking homo sapiens: i. e. the Neocortex over the past 30-40,000 years. The manner in which we use our cognitive capacity (thinking) has significantly increased with the dawn of civilizations and early advanced cultures —> the past 6-8,000 years. This cognitive enhancement created the Scientific Revolution and the astonishing material achievements over the last 400 years. I endorse the Anthropic Principle that says humans are part of the Universe and we are connected with all that is in the Universe, yet our advanced brain makes us unique members of the Animal Kingdom. It sets us apart in our ability to be aware of our environment, and most importantly to be aware of ourselves at both emotive/intuitive and cognitive/rational levels. Our brain is one of the most complex structures in the Cosmos. For Aldous Huxley, “the miracle of mind is that it can transmit quantity into quality. This property of mind is something given; it just is so. It cannot be explained; it can only be accepted.” (1964