World Brain Day 2020: Step-by-step guide on how your brain functions

जानें, कैसे काम करता है आपका दिमाग

This year, World Brain Day is dedicated to raising awareness for Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative brain disease. Keep reading to know the significance of this day and how the brain works.

The brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body. It is like a computer that controls all the body's functions. The brain controls your thoughts, memory, speech, movement of the arms and legs, as well as the function of your heart and the digestive system. Hence having a healthy brain is crucial for living a long and fulfilling life. However, most of us don't start thinking about brain health until there is a problem like cognitive changes or memory loss. Brain health matters irrespective of your age and it's never too late to improve your brain health. World Brain Day is observed every year to increase public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health.

Since 2014, the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) has been observing this day in collaboration with other international societies to highlight the importance of brain health and promote better neurological care globally. This year, World Brain Day is dedicated to raising awareness for Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative brain disease that affects the mind, movement and almost all aspects of brain function. It is estimated that Parkinson's disease affects more than 7 million people of all ages worldwide that's nearly equivalent to the entire population of New York City. The WFN has chosen Parkinson's disease jointly with the International Parkinson and Movement Disorders Society (IPMDS) as the topic for World Brain Day 2020. You will be able to understand the disease better if know the functions of the brain.

Understand how your brain functions

The brain is a soft, spongy mass of supportive tissues and nerves. Some nerves go directly from the brain to the eyes, ears, and other parts of the head. Other nerves connect the brain with other parts of the body through the spinal cord. This network of nerves, called the nervous system, carries messages back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. Together, the brain, spinal cord and nerves form the central nervous system.

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The brain has three main parts: Cerebrum, Cerebellum and Brain stem. All these parts work together, but each has special functions.

The cerebrum

The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and it fills most of the upper skull. It controls reading, thinking, learning, speech, and emotions. This outer part of the brain also controls vision, hearing and other senses. The cerebrum is divided two halves called the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, and the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body.

The cerebellum

The cerebellum, which lies inside the cerebrum at the back of the brain, controls balance, coordination and complex actions like walking and talking.

The brain stem

The brain stem connects the cerebrum with the spinal cord. It controls fundamental body functions such as breathing, eye movements, blood pressure, heartbeat, and swallowing. The part which lies at the bottom of the brain controls hunger, thirst and body temperature.

Role of the skull

The human body has a built-in defense system to protect the brain and spinal cord against injury.

The brain is protected by the skull and the meninges a covering of three thin membranes. The skull, the bony framework of the head, is made up of 21 bones. The brain is also cushioned and protected by cerebrospinal fluid, a watery fluid that flows in and around the four hollow spaces of the brain called ventricles. This fluid also carries nutrients from the blood to the brain and removes waste products from the brain.

The spinal cord runs down from the brain through thespinal column (also called the backbone) that starts at the base of the skull and goes down to the tailbone.

Thespinal column has 33 irregular, spool-shaped bones (vertebrae) that protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is also covered by the meninges and cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid.

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