5 Ways Science is Studying the Brain

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by: Tom Scheve
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CT scan images help surgeons and researchers get a peek at our brains.

It's the most mysterious and little-understood organ in the entire body: the brain. It's the source of our thoughts, our emotions and our memories. It monitors everything that happens inside our bodies, and it keeps the heart beating, the blood flowing and the lungs working without any conscious effort on our part. Also, it's responsible for whatever conscious efforts we do make. It's the original supercomputer.

When a developing fetus is only four weeks old, brain cells form at a rate of a quarter-million per minute [source: PBS]. Eventually, billions of neurons will interact and form trillions of connections. Without a brain to control the body, life wouldn't even be possible.

Due to its importance, you might think the brain would be a little more forthcoming about its design and function. Fortunately, the human brain also provides us with the remarkable ability and ingenuity to study the human brain, a skill in which brains of other life forms decidedly come up short. The study of the brain has yielded remarkable findings, and advances in brain research have created a better understanding of the way we function and life itself.

So how does science study the brain? Keep reading, brainiac, and you'll find out.

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