The brain is an amazing and complex organ. It consists of a network of nerve cells (or neurons) that produce thought, memory, action, and feeling. This complex system changes and develops from childhood into adulthood to late life. The changes and development occur to maintain optimal behavioral responses.
The brain grows and develops faster than any other parts of the body during infancy and as a toddler.
Growth of the brain depends on many things, such as proper nutrition, exposure to toxins, and experiences that occur between the child and others. The more that a child learns and experiences creates new interconnections in the brain that begin to communicate with each other, which promotes growth and new interconnections. The brain transmits electrical impulses along with brain cells that move faster due to the myelin that coats them. The brain starts with billions of neurons, but this changes and proliferates. The brain then will drop some connections to keep new communications that are more important to continue development and growth. This dropping of communications is known as synaptic pruning.
Neurons also arrange themselves according to functions. Control of breathing and heart rate are the most developed at birth. With exposure to experiences and learning, higher functions such as thinking and reasoning begin to develop as more interconnections develop. Exposure to more opportunities to learn allow the brain more opportunities to grow. A child without these opportunities will not have as much brain development as their peer would. The brain can also show rapid and unusual growth with increased exposure to learning, which also develops higher cognitive skills.
As we age, our brains do not replace brain cells that are lost. Loss of brain cells can lead to cognitive decline and a decline in intelligence. This loss can occur as early as middle adulthood. If we remain active and use our brain by keeping it busy, you may decline at a slower rate. Our brain is never really inactive as they are continually doing something. Still, by continuing to learn and pushing ourselves to gather more information, we can continue to keep our brains functioning.
The brain is very intriguing in the way it functions and can reproduce cells that are lost and somewhat repair itself. It brings out the curiosity in me in wanting to know what causes it to misfire or process differently in different people. Why does it do this, and why can it not correct itself. How when a young child has an injury to the brain, it repairs itself quicker, but when and old old adult has an injury, it takes so much longer to repair itself. It leaves one wanting to delve into it more to see if could be rewired to work more efficiently.
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