The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Primer on the Human Brain - Most Complicated Thing in the Universe


Primer on the Human Brain
The Most Complicated Thing in the Universe

What a wonderful bird the Frog are
When he walk, he swim almost,
When he hop he fly almost,
What a wonderful bird the Frog are.
~ Anonymous 

By Chance Massaro

As we all are aware, the human brain is very much in the news today. While we have long been interested in using our brains to be more creative and solve problems and learn faster, recently we have emphasized brain health and the avoidance of or recovery from various brain diseases and trauma.  Advertisers bombard us with snake oil and half baked solutions to problems that scientists suggest don’t even exist. How are we to make sense of all this? What should we do to use well and preserve this 2.5 pounds of fat in back of our eyeballs?

Well, it’s complicated.  When someone tells you they have the secret to using your brain effectively or preventing disease, take their words with big pinch of salt. Because:

One brain: the mass of fat between your ears.

One brain: the human body and its brain.

One brain: the brain, the body and the environment.

Two brains: right and left hemispheres (each having its own tendencies and talents).

Three brains: brain stem (shared with all vertebrates), limbic system (shared with all mammals) and the cerebral cortex the [primate] human brain.

Four brains: (each with its own talents and tendencies) frontal lobe (decision making, the future), parietal lobe (focus), occipital lobe (sight); temporal lobe (hearing, speaking and lots of memory) and the cerebellum (coordinates movement).

Pituitary gland: the master endocrine gland affecting all hormonal functions of the body (a real “thinker “).

Six brains:  Right and left hemispheres originate left and right movements of the body, practice a physical skill and the two sides of the cerebellum remember perfectly; autonomic nervous system pulls my finger out of the fire before I know there is one; brain stems keeps my heart beating and my lungs breathing and my guts digesting (also the secret of “The Secret”).

The electrical brain: Operating on about 7Hz of electricity, the brain, body and environment communicate on many different frequencies. This is what makes the brain susceptible to magnetism, radio, micro and cosmic rays as well as other electrical influences

The chemical brain:  the human brain is awash with thirty different neurotransmitters and hormones, many of which do different things in different parts of the brain.

The Team brain: when one part of the brain is compromised, other parts can step in and assume new duties.

The constantly changing brain: When you learn something new, your brain will make new dendrites (the receiving spikes on your neurons {brain cells that “think” we think}). Learn a language or an instrument a new sport or game and your learning center (hippocampus) will grow new neurons.  Stop using a skill or body of knowledge and dendrites will be trimmed.

SO, what do we do to use well and preserve this 2.5 pounds of fat in back of our eyeballs?

Become your own brain scientist: Don’t fall for claims or buy more pills.  Eat a heart healthy diet, exercise as much as you can, drink lots of water, breathe deeply, maintain a sunny attitude, hang out with positive, interesting people, be curious, learn new stuff and acknowledge whatever you do that works.  When you remember something, thank your brain and then ask your brain how it did what it did. When you creatively solve a problem or complete a project, thank your brain and ask it how did it do what it did.  As you learn how your brain helps you succeed, you will become mentally stronger and increasingly able to manage and enjoy the most complicated thing in the universe.


To learn more about the most complicated thing in the universe come to the Successful Brain Fair at Finley Community Center on October 10 from 10am to 4pm to meet forty-five experts on neurology, games, nutrition, exercise, psychology and more.  Check out or call Chance Massaro at 707-526-9196 or Teresa Fogolini at 707-208-8351.