The Brain Research Paper Essay Example

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The Brain
.What weighs about three pounds but has more parts than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy? What fills the space occupied by only three pints of milk yet includes components that, laid end to end, would stretch several hundred thousand miles? What looks like an oversized walnut made of soft, grayish-pink cheese but contains the equivalent of 100 trillion tiny calculators? What, according to James Watson, co-discoverer of the helical structure of DNA, is "the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe"? To all four of these intriguing questions there is but one surprising answer: the human brain. This miraculous organ is remarkable in its structure, its function, and its chemical composition. What is the brain? According to Richard Restak, the human brain is the master control center of the body. The brain constantly receives information from the senses about conditions both inside the body and outside it. The brain rapidly analyzes this information and then sends out messages that control body functions and actions. ("Brain" 561) According to Tether, the brain is divided into three main parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. These parts, in turn, are largely made up of nerve cells, called neurons, and helper cells, called glia. Researchers have discovered that there may be as many as 100 billion neurons in the brain and a far greater number of glia, possibly as many as one trillion . Important discoveries throughout the decade of the 1990’s in molecular biology and genetics are revolutionizing our understanding of how the human brain works. Advances in imaging technology are allowing us to learn more about the human brain than ever before in human history. Keith A. Johnson and J. Alex Becker have even placed "The Whole Brain Atlas," which consists of dozens of images of the brain in normal, damaged, and diseased states, on the World Wide Web for anyone with access to the Internet to view and study. One area

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