CogniFit's Science blog: Brain – What We Know And What We Don’t

Brain – What We Know And What We Don’t

Most people would probably agree that the human brain is an amazing organ. It plays a role in controlling virtually every part of our bodies and is acknowledged to be the root of our consciousness. Scientists have made great strides in studying the brain and there is a great deal which they understand in regard to how the brain functions and operates.

However there is still a great deal which we don’t understand so let’s discuss both situations further.

First of all let’s discuss what is known about the human brain. Well the key parts of the brain have been defined and there is information in terms of what basic functions the different parts control. For example one of the most primitive parts of the brain called the brain stem controls many bodily functions like breathing, heart rate, etc. which normally occur without us thinking about it. It is called the primitive part of the brain because this part has been an essential part of the brain throughout human development and has not evolved much over that time.

The frontal lobe of the brain has evolved significantly over time and appears to control many higher level thought processes. This section of the brain is much larger than brains from other animals which are similar in size to humans. So it is believed that this part of the brain plays an essential role in providing us with higher level functions.

Quite a bit of work has been done regarding the study of brain cells and how they form neural networks. This is an essential way in which information is communicated to and from the brain. It is also believed that memories can be solidified and learning can occur when new neural networks are formed.

The amount of information which scientists learn about the brain increases every day. They have also gained much understanding into the impact of disease on the brain.

At the same time there is still very much which is not understood about the brain at all. Scientists and researchers have theories and models regarding how we learn, memorize and use information. But why people react to different situations and how we gain things like emotion, compassion, etc. is not entirely understood.

As indicated earlier, many studies have been made to better understand the impact of different diseases of the brain like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Scientists and researchers think they understand what causes some of the problems associated with these diseases. However they do not yet know how to treat these diseases effectively and no not yet have any acceptable cures.

So as much as great strides have been made in understanding the function of the brain and how to treat certain diseases or the effects of injury, there is still quite a bit more to learn. And for certain higher level functions, it may be a very long time before the true manner in which the brain processes and controls them is well understood. And it may very well be that there will always be certain aspects which are simply beyond our grasp to fully understand.

It is what helps to make this organ a true miracle of nature and what gives us makes us what we are – human.