Sometimes we simply forget who we are and what amazing creatures we are.
Have you ever really sat and thought about how you tick? How does your body know what to do? What is your brain all about?
Our brain communicates to our body through a network called peripheral nervous system and has two major parts. One of the parts controls the things you don’t have to think about like your heartbeat or digestion (autonomic nervous system) and the other (somatic nervous system) connects your senses to your brain and lets you move your muscles. The brain is your body’s control center and your spinal cord is its message hub. They make up your central nervous system together and your brain is always talking to the rest of your body. These messages go through your spinal cord, then to your arms, legs and all other body parts and organs.
Our brain takes charge of how we think, feel, learn, remember, talk, walk and even breath and only weighs about 3 pounds. All this activity creates folds and grooves to make room for all the information it has to hold.
Our nerves are made of cells called neurons. These billions of cells are what carry the messages to and from your brain. Some let your brain in on what’s going on with your eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Others go from your brain to your muscles.
All of our thoughts start with an electrical charge, kind of like a lightbulb going off in some of the cartoons. This is called a nerve impulse and triggers chemicals to send signals to other neurons and your brain.
Your autonomic nervous system is responsible for your fight or flight signals. They put you on high alert and get you ready for whatever might happen next. You’ll find your heart beats faster, pushing more blood to your heart and other organs and your blood pressure also goes up. Your brain sends adrenaline into your bloodstream and your airways will get wider so you can get more oxygen to your lungs.
Serotonin sends messages about your mood and dopamine talks to your brain about movement. Chemicals are found where one neuron meets another and these neurons connect to one another in more than 100 trillion places, a complex network called “neuron forest” by the scientists.
Parkinson’s hurts the neurons that affect movement. Signs might include shaking in your hands or fingers, slow movement, stiff muscles, problems with balance and changes in speech. If you notice any of these conditions, contact your doctor, but there could also be other conditions causing these as well.
When neurons lose connection to one another, this is called Alzheimer’s. Being cut off from one another causes the neurons to stop working like they should and eventually die. We have all known people afflicted with this disease, and their lack of memory is vastly noticeable and a condition that can attack at any age.
Let’s try to be grateful for what our brain does for us daily. It is such a wonderful organ!
-Dr Fredda Branyon