Studying the brain and its functions can be boring and full of technical terms that may be great to expand your brain cells and improve memory, but can get tedious and boring. I found a few fun facts about the brain that are connected to your senses, and may wake you up and put a smile on your face – which in turn activates the dopamine in your brain and improves your memory. Either way, it’s good food for thought (pun intended).


The brain can’t experience pain. The brain itself has no sense of pain, which is why brain surgeons can operate on areas of the brain while a patient is still awake (I may not feel it physically, but I sure feel like it should hurt). Patients who have undergone neurosurgery while awake are able to provide useful information to the surgeon so they do not get into areas that may affect vital functions – such as speech.Â

Got an itch that needs scratching? One theory as to why we itch suggests that scratching stimulates the release of endorphins, naturally occurring opiates, which block pain sensation. This is strange, since scratching would seem to hinder the healing of a wound rather than help it heal.  Scratching injures our skin a little more, but it allows a flood of endorphins to be released to block the pain of the initial injury.


Your ears can talk. Healthy ears actually emit sounds, and sometimes others can hear them. Usually the sound is soft, and the person whose ears are making the noise rarely hears it. Although scientists don’t understand why this happens, they believe it is coming from the central nervous system.  (Talk about an inner voice!)

Baby Talk Works. Mothers who constantly are speaking to their infants are increasing their child’s vocabulary much faster than mothers who rarely speak to their infants. Children spoken to from birth learn about 300 more words by age two.


The nose you smell through may be new. The neurons in our nose that allow us to smell, olfactory receptor cells, can regenerate throughout our lifetime, but keep the same connections in our brain so we continue to recognize the same smells – even though these cells continue to die and produce new ones. Once we learn to smell even the new neurons recognize the smell.  (Some people, who believe in reincarnation, say they recall a certain smell even though they never smelled it in this lifetime. Maybe there is something there.)


Our eyes see from the inside out.  The rods and cones of the retina to our eyes (the light-detecting receptor cells) actually reside in the back of the retina -  under several layers of cells. Light is able to pass to them through the transparent neurons and support cells within the retina, and then send signals to the brain.Â

Discovering Your Blind Spot.  We often hear of people saying that someone was in their blind spot, but did you think that really existed? Well it does. We rarely take notice of our blind spots because they don’t overlap the images formed by the two eyes. The optic nerve exits the retina as a single bundle, but the exit point within the retina has no receptor cells, so it forms a blind spot in each eye. Your eye doctor is only able to find your blind spots by having you close the eye not being tested.


Crying “crocodile tears.” The expression to “cry crocodile tears” often is referred to as crying simply to get attention, just like a crocodile appears to weep while happily chowing down on his catch.  It actually has a neurological root. A disorder in humans called crocodile tears results from damage to the fifth cranial nerve, which controls the mucous membranes of the face. When the person with this condition eats it sends a signal to the brain to start salivating, but instead the signal gets crossed and it stimulates the tear ducts instead. These tears are known as ‘crocodile tears.”

I enjoy having some light-hearted, yet educational points to give to you on the brain and memory once in a while instead of simply factual studies. I hope you enjoyed them.

From the Desk of Ron White




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