Sunday, 7 April 2013

Brain Myths

Can you hear Zombies drooling? 

While thinking about more myths most people believe (or choose to believe cause it sound cool, is comfortable to believe or is uncomfortable with to question said belief) my mind wandered to my mind. Brains are the target of many myths, partly because it's still quite a lot of mysteries left to solve, partly because we want to live in a world where our brains are super-genius computers just a command from being unlocked to their fullest glory. And this is not entirely untrue, but some of it is and some of it need further clarification.
Some stuff you've heard is wrong though, listening to Mozart doesn't make you smarter, you won't buy more Coke if an image is spliced into a movie and you will not kill yourself if somebody tells you to do it backwards on a heavy-metal album. When we choose to believe these things we forget how we work.

What I'm gonna address here though are clear myths (or misunderstandings that is applicable as myths here today)

Myth 5 - Alcohol kills brain-cells en masse

Truth - Alcohol doesn't actually kills brain-cells no, it damages dendrites.

That's how cells communicate. After dendrite breakdown it's all family therapy and trust leaps. 

Dendrites are the tips of the neurons that sends the nerve-signals so without them it's a bit of an echo-chamber, the thing is that this damage is reversible. So while being an alcoholic is pretty bad for you, there are no reason to not shape up and have a vitamin-shake (because most of the damage your get while being alcoholic is actually a lack of nutrition and thinking Jackass is comedy gold )

Myth 6 - You only use 10% of your brain

Truth - I hesitated about doing this myth, since it's so old and dumb hardly anybody believes it anymore. But perhaps we can put it to death in a couple of more people. This myth survives because it's a vehicle for people believing in the supernatural, they can make bold claims about tapping into the other 90% and that is allegedly where nature has chosen to store our telekinesis, ESP and savant-skills (without the social hassle of being autistic or having brain-damage).
This one of the myths common sense should have triumphed over a long time ago, nature doesn't design a brain as big and complex as ours and then use a tenth of it. The reason we are total idiots as children is because if we'd been born as ready as most animals women would have needed a uterus like a sleeping bag and the childbearing hips of an elephant. Our brain consumes 20% of our total energy despite having only about 2% of our total mass.
To add to the stupidity of the myth, do you really think you could function with only 10% of you brain working?

Myth 7 - Left handed people use the right part of their brain and are therefore more creative

Truth - This is not entirely true, and not entirely untrue. The basic premise is false though, because first of all creativity isn't something isolated. To write a book, compose a song or invent a machine you will need a lot of brainpower and many different centers that are spread around both hemispheres of the brain. You can, if you will, simplify the brain into a left logical and right creative hemisphere but it doesn't really work. Most of us use our Corpus Callosum (the highway between west-coast and east-coast brain-gangs) all the time to solve stuff. One study published in Scientific America (Found here) mentions something called the Interpreter Phenomenon which states that the left hemisphere made up stories about what the right hemisphere where doing. That's pretty creative of boring old logical lefty, eh!
Besides this there is not a clear definition of left-handed or right-handed. We usually mean which hand we prefer to use while writing, but that can differ from how we eat, use an ice-hockey stick and throw a ball (called mixed-handedness, about 30% have this).
Also there is no scientific solid correlation between left-handed and right-brained or vice versa, so there is that. 

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About Me

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Member of the band Colony 5, also producing music under the names Moonboy & 200OK.
Rides a Kawasaki ZX6R
Loves movies, books, whisky, pipes and an open fire. 
Father of two girls; Enya & Leia 
Fiancé of Malin