Researchers reveal what science knows about how the brain works

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Have you ever wondered how the brain human?

The brain and central nervous system are the command center of the human body, controlling the body’s conscious and unconscious functions and thus influencing all aspects of life. The most powerful machine in the human body is formed by neurons that can be classified as sensory, when they transmit the information captured by the organs.

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In humans, the main organs of the sensory system are: skin, tongue, nose, ears and eyes. They capture physical or chemical stimuli and transform them into electrical impulses, which are transmitted to the central nervous system.

Researchers from different areas help to assemble the brain puzzle in CNN Vital Signs presented by cardiologist Roberto Kalil (see the full above ).

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Paulo Niemeyer Filho, a neurosurgeon and director of the Paulo Niemeyer Brain Institute, explains that what differentiates a human from other animals is the frontal lobe.

“The frontal lobes developed and gave man the capacity for symbolic thinking, which is what gave rise to language, the ability to develop mathematics, letters, and all our thinking, all our dreams,” said Niemeyer. . In addition to being a doctor, he is a writer and founder of the Instituto do Cérebro, named after his father, one of Brazil’s leading neurosurgeons.

Neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis has a theory of how the human brain evolved to become an organic computer unrivaled in the known universe.

“The human brain is only comparable to the universe that surrounds us. It is through the brain that we confer meaning, interpret, generate a notion of reality that is peculiar to human beings. That’s why I like to say that the brain built, sculpted the human universe. The brain tries to create a model of what’s out here to maximize our chances of survival,” says Nicolelis.

Universidade Federal do ABC carried out a study with violinists to understand the empathy of a musician’s brain when playing alone and when playing accompanied. To measure this, statistician and neuroscientist João Ricardo Sato used caps with a functional infrared spectroscopy system that measure oxygenation in different areas of the brain.

Specialists from the D’Or Institute for Research and Teaching (Idor) study various nuances of the human brain, such as why people are divided into social groups such as religion, football, politics. Neuroscientist Idor Stevens Rehen, specialized in stem cells and professor at the Institute of Biology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), captures skin or urine cells and transforms them into neurons and, consequently, into mini brains. The structures, which simulate the functioning of the real organ, are the source of several researches in the field of neurology.

scientific mystery

Scientists are looking for explanations of what makes the human brain different from all other animals, including even the closest primates. Research conducted by experts at Yale University, in the United States, suggests some clues to this scientific mystery.

In an analysis of the cell types present in the prefrontal cortex of four primate species, the researchers identified species-specific characteristics – particularly human ones. The study also points out that what makes us human may also be the mechanism that makes us susceptible to neuropsychiatric diseases.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health. The findings were published in the journal Science.

The primate brain is made up of a region essential for advanced cognition, called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Using a genetic sequencing technique, the researchers traced gene expression levels in hundreds of thousands of cells collected from the cortex of adult humans, chimpanzees, monkeys and marmosets.

“Today, we see the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as the central component of human identity, but we still don’t know what makes it unique in humans and distinguishes us from other primate species.” Nenad Sestan, a professor of neuroscience at Yale and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. “Now we have more clues”, he adds.

The scientists pooled cells with similar expression profiles and identified at least 109 shared primate cell types, in addition to five that were not common to all species. The narrowest group included one type of microglia, or brain-specific immune cell, that was present only in humans, and a second type shared only by humans and chimpanzees.

The study reveals that the type of microglia specific to humans is present throughout development and into adulthood, which suggests that the cells play a role in maintaining the brain, rather than fighting disease – like others in the immune system.

brain health

When the brain is challenged by disease or other factors, it poses significant risks not only to a person’s overall health and well-being, but also to overall development and productivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) has released an unprecedented document on the importance of optimizing brain health for the well-being of individuals.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 people will develop a neurological disorder at some point in their lives, making these diseases the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death.

In addition, 43% of children under five in low- and middle-income countries are believed to lose their developmental potential due to extreme poverty and stunting, leading to financial losses and 26% lower projected annual earnings at age. adult.

In the WHO document, information is presented on the following groups of determinants: physical health, healthy environments, safety and security, learning and social connection, and access to quality services.

The WHO argues that optimizing brain health by addressing these determinants leads to several benefits, including lower rates of chronic health conditions. Improvements include reduced neurological, mental, physical and substance use impacts, as well as improved quality of life and multiple social and economic benefits.

The article demonstrates the relevance of optimizing brain health within the broader context of public health and society and offers practical policy solutions and future directions for the field, including specific actions to address the determinants of brain health, ongoing priorities in research. about brain health.

The document is a technical complement to the recently adopted Global Intersectoral Action Plan (2022–2030) on epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

Source: CNN Brasil

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