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Your Amazing Bran

Your Amazing Bran
The first stop on the virtual brain tour takes a look at the three main parts of the brain, the cerebral cortex, the cerebellum and the brain stem. It also explores the four brain lobes: the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe and the occipital lobe. The first part of the brain to evolve some 500 million years ago was the brain stem. It is also known as the reptilian brain or lower brain. Certain ‘hardwired’ body functions e.g., breathing and blood pressure, as well as some basic human instincts like danger are controlled by the lower brain. The cerebellum evolved about 400 million years ago and is also known as the hind brain. The limbic brain (we will explore this brain in detail later) was the third part of the brain to evolve between 300 and 200 million years ago and is sometimes called the mid brain. The final part of the brain to evolve was the cerebrum (cerebral cortex), also called the upper brain. Each half of the cerebrum is split into four lobes. Parietal Lobe

6 Virtual Tours Of The Human Body For Free Interactive Anatomy Lessons When it comes to interactive virtual views, we have gone to space and around the globe. So, it’s not surprising that we are also going within ourselves on a virtual journey of the human body. One of the finest tools available online is Visible Body. Unfortunately, it’s not free anymore. But you can see the beauty of it thanks to the free demo that allows you to explore the head and neck. If you are disappointed that there aren’t any free interactive anatomy tools, worry not. Google Body You can trust Google to take you everywhere. The Google Body browser is a Google Labs project that renders on Google Chrome and any other browser that supports WebGL (like Firefox 4 Beta). MEDtropolis The interactive website aims to educate entertain both kids and adult on bodily health; understanding the human anatomical structure is just part of the process. For instance, check out the narrated tours on Virtual Body. eSkeletons eSkeletons isn’t only about understanding human anatomy. DirectAnatomy

Brain Hemispheres Imagine looking down through the top of your head onto the cortex of your brain. You would see that is made up of two halves called hemispheres: one on the left (the left brain) and one on the right (the right brain). This is the upstairs part of your brain! The left and right brains are connected by an intricate network of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum. It was the ancient Egyptians who first noticed that the left brain tends to control the right side of the body and the right brain tends to control the left side of the body. Although each hemisphere is almost identical in terms of structure, each hemisphere operates in an entirely different way and are associated with very different activities. Left Hemisphere The left brain is the logical brain responsible for words, logic, numbers, analysis, lists, linearity and sequence. Right Hemisphere Corpus Callosum Click here to continue your virtual tour of your amazing brain……..

Limbic Brain Now imagine looking through the side of your head at a cross-section of your brain. You would see the downstairs part of your brain, the limbic brain. The limbic brain is located below the the cortex (upstairs), in front of the cerebellum and above the brain stem. The limbic brain evolved between 200 and 300 million years ago and is the seat of your emotions. The limbic brain is critical to learning and for short-term and long-term memory. The scientist Robert Ornstein says that the easiest way to remember the functions of the limbic brain is the four ‘F’s’ of survival : feeding, fighting, fleeing and sexual reproduction!! Cerebral Cortex The surface of the brain is called the CORTEX. The Thalamus The thalamus makes preliminary classifications of external information coming in the brain. Amygdala The amygdala is an almond shaped set of brain cells located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. Basal Ganglia Pituitary Gland Hypothalamus

Brain Cell Zoom in close enough on a section of your brain and you would see a dense network of cells. The cells that create brain activity are called neurons, cells which carry an electrical signal from one to another.Neurons are the building blocks of the brain. Each neuron connects with up to 100,000 neighbours in the worlds biggest cuddle! To the naked eye, neurons appear as the “grey matter” of the brain. A piece of brain the size of a pin head contains approximately 60,000 neurons. The Structure of the Brain Cell Each of the neurons has a cell body. Dendrites bring information to the cell body and axons take information away from the cell body. Cell Body The cell body houses the nucleus (which contains genetic code), and cytoplasm (which feeds the nucleus). Dendrites Dendrites branch out from the cell body. Schwann’s Cells These cells produce myelin. Node of Ranvier The myelin sheath is not continuous but is interrupted by the nodes of ranvier. Myelin Sheath Axon Axon Terminals Cell Nucleus

Thinking Process So what happens when you think? Brain cells communicate with each other through an electrochemical process. Every time you think, learn or communicate, a neuron (brain cell) in your brain sends a nerve impulse down its axon. The axon of one brain cell makes multiple thousands of connections with many thousand other brain cells. When the nerve impulse (electro-magnetic bio-chemical message) surges down the axon, it is fired across the synaptic gap via a chemical messenger called a neurotransmitter into the dendrite of the receiving brain cell. Neurons can either “excite” other neurons to make them function. That is why it is important to eat the right types of brain foods in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your mental process. What happens when brain cells communicate? Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers which transmit the nerve impulse across the synaptic gap. Synaptic Gap The synaptic gap is the space between neurons. Axon Terminal Button Dendrite

Habits of the Brain The neural pathways discussed earlier in the tour, create patterns of thought.. Once these pathways are created, the thoughts are likely to be repeated. This is because, the repetition of a thought decreases the biochemical resistance to that thought happening again and the connections between two brain cells on the neural pathway become stronger. Imagine that you are taking a walk through a dense forest. However, the second time you walk through, it won’t be as hard because you already started creating a pathway through the jungle on your first walk. It’s the same with your brain. It also explains why learning something new or breaking a habit can be difficult at first. We hope you enjoyed the virtual tour through your amazing brain.