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Seven Myths About Your Brain

Here are some common misconceptions about that 3-pound organ in your head.

1. Your brain is gray.

Many people believe that brains are gray. Maybe it’s because of the gray x-ray pictures or the gray brains that are kept in jars. To be fair, when a brain is preserved with fixatives like formaldehyde, they do turn a chalky, dull color. But a living brain is actually red (with areas of white and black).

2. You only use 10 percent of your brain.

This is probably the most common myth about the brain. But if you look at scientific studies of brain activity, you can see very clearly (in lots of lovely colors) that we use a whole lot more than 10 percent of our brain (even when we’re sleeping).

3. Listening to Mozart can make you smarter.

This is known as the “Mozart effect.” In the 1990s, a study was done using 36 students at the University of California at Irvine. They listened to 10 minutes of Mozart before taking an IQ test and their scores went up by about 8 points. However, the study never claimed to make anyone smarter – it just increased performance on certain spatial-temporal tasks. There is some evidence, however, that shows learning an instrument can improve concentration, self-confidence, and coordination.

4. Brain damage is permanent.

If the brain damage is severe, then it’s most likely permanent. But the brain actually has the ability to recover and rebuild itself after being damaged. If neurons are lost or damaged, they can’t grow back. But the synapses (connections between neurons) can. This means that the brain can create new pathways in order to function.

5. You can learn through subliminal messages.

To be plain and simple: there has never been any evidence that subliminal messages have a positive effect.

6. Drugs can put holes in your brain.

Drugs can definitely alter the state of your brain. Using drugs can lower the impact of neurotransmitters (chemicals that the brain uses to communicate signals) or change the levels of them, which can result in problems with neuron function. But there’s no drug that actually puts holes in it.

7. Your brain can stay active after decapitation.

There have been unusual instances where a chicken has lived without its head, but a human simply can’t. If you’re decapitated, you’ll lose consciousness in 2-3 seconds because of your brain’s severe loss of blood flow. When your brain is cut off from oxygen, it immediately goes into a coma and begins to die.

Source: www.health.howstuffworks.com

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