Let's Talk About: Back to brain basics

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It's back to school season all across the United States and the most important school supply students will bring to the classroom: their brains!

The brain is part of the human body's central nervous system and is in charge of everything from your breathing and your heart beating, to memorizing multiplication tables and solving complex physics problems. So, let's get back to brain basics. Did you know that the human brain weighs approximately 3 pounds and has just about 100 billion neurons? It's true. The brain has three basic parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem.

The cerebrum takes up most of the space in your skull. It is the part of your brain that controls movement; it's where remembering, problem solving, thinking and feeling all take place.

The cerebellum is at the back of your head and sits under the cerebrum. It is here that your body's coordination and balance are controlled. Think about getting up from your chair and crossing the room. It is a simple action that most of us don't even think about doing, for that you can thank your cerebellum.

Finally, the brain stem sits below your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum. The brain stem is the main connection between the brain and the spinal cord. It's your brain stem that controls body functions that we take for granted such as breathing, blinking, digesting our food and our heart rate.

These three major parts of the brain work as a team to help us function in everyday life. The cerebrum will play a main role as students go back to school and begin to learn. Be sure to exercise your brain often by doing word searches, working puzzles and visiting fun, educational places such as Carnegie Science Center. Head to this website for more fun brain games: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chgames.html.



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