Demystifying the brain – What the brain does and does not do

Author’s note – This is the first post in a series of articles titled ‘Demystifying the Brain’. In this series, I will discuss some fundamental neuroscience concepts, and try to explain what scientists have been able to discover so far about how our brains work. I hope you find the series fun and instructive, and look forward to hearing from you in the comments. 

Ask anyone what makes us human, and you will probably receive the answer that it is our brains – our oversized, convoluted, magnificent brains with their 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections – that have gifted us our unique position in the animal world. The human brain is considered by many to be the pinnacle of evolutionary design, being a highly efficient, immensely flexible and mind-bogglingly quick computing machine. Unravelling the workings of this machine is a daunting challenge that many bright minds have nevertheless accepted over the years, and we now have a basic, if incomplete, understanding of the basic principles along which the brain functions.

What exactly is the brain?

The brain is, anatomically speaking, a mass of concentrated nervous tissue.

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