What's Your Brain Doing?
show/hide words to know
- Disorder: something that is not in order. Not arranged correctly. In medicine a disorder is when something in the body is not working correctly.
- Electroencephalogram: visual recording showing the electrical activity of the brain (EEG)... more
- Emotion: any of a long list of feelings a person can have such as joy, anger and love... more
What's Your Brain Doing?
The brain has many different parts. The brain also has specific areas that do certain types of work. These areas are called lobes. One lobe works with your eyes when watching a movie. There is a lobe that is controlling your legs and arms when running and kicking a soccer ball. There are two lobes that are involved with reading and writing. Your memories of a favorite event are kept by the same lobe that helps you on a math test. The brain is controlling all of these things and a lot more.
The brain is a very busy organ. It is the control center for the body. It runs your organs like your heart and lungs. It is also busy working with other parts of your body. All of your senses, sight, smell, hearing, tough, and taste depend on your brain. Tasting food with the sensors on you tounge is only possible if the signals from your taste buds are sent to the brain. Once in the brain the signals are decoded. The sweet flavor of an orange is only sweet if the brain tells you.
How do you tell if the brain is working? What is it doing and how do you measure it? The science fiction looking head gear on the right measures the electrical activity in the brain. The electrical waves are called brain waves.
When neurons send a signal they use electrical currents to pass messages to other nearby neurons. Just one or two neurons signaling too small a change to be noticed. When a huge group of neurons signal at once, they can be recorded and measured with the help of special tools.
Measuring electrical activity in the brain is usually done with electrodes. Electrodes are devices able to record electrical changes over time. These are attached to the surface of the skin in specific places around the head. Recordings of brain wave activity look like a series of waves. These are called electroencephalograms, or EEGs for short.
Measuring activity in the brain can be a very useful tool in scientific studies. They can also be used to help identify sleeping disorders and other medical conditions relating to the brain.
The first human electroencephalogram, record in 1824 by Hans Berger.
Computer animation credit: BodyParts3D, Copyright© 2010 The Database Center for Life Science licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.1 Japan.