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Why your brain is the best bit of tech you own

30 August, 2018

When you think about it, your brain is pretty incredible. It contains around 100 billion nerve cells (neurons), each connected by around 100 trillion synapses, which pass messages from one part of the brain to the other. It’s like your own personal supercomputer.

This month, our Mind Matters campaign will celebrate the power of your brain and show you how to give it the care it deserves.

While these days our lives have been improved by some very impressive technological devices, none of them come close to the awesome power of your brain. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why.

Your brain can't feel pain 

While it processes signals from elsewhere in your body, your brain itself has no pain response.

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On the other hand, as anyone who has ever dropped their phone will know, technology can have quite a low tolerance of pain.


Your brain generates between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day 

It takes more than 100,000 chemical reactions every second to make this happen.

Now, remind us, how long does it take your laptop to install all those updates?


Your brain's main fuel is water

You can get water for free in your kitchen. Even a bottle only costs around £1.

On the other hand, the average annual gas and electricity bill for a three-bedroom family home is £1,135, Powering all that technology doesn't come cheap.


Your brain is capable of 1,016 processes per second

On the other hand, your average self-service checkout breaks down if there's an unexpected item in the bagging area.


Your brain can store more information than you can use in a lifetime.

A 2016 study concluded that our brains have one petabyte of storage. That’s enough for 4.7 billion books, or 670 million web pages.

Let's compare this to your phone or iPod, where we all know the pain of having to delete stuff you like in order to make room for your newest app.


Your brain keeps improving throughout your life.

A 2017 MIT study revealed that while brain processing power peaks around the age of 18, other functions peak later in life, such as concentration (43), understanding new information (50) and vocabulary (67).

How many times have you had to upgrade or replace all your gadgets in the last few years?


Your brain can adapt to your needs

Studies have shown that London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with memory) than most people.

This is thanks to ‘The Knowledge’, a test that requires them to memorise 60,000 streets and up to 100,000 places.

If you've ever used a Sat Nav, you'll know that technology isn't always as capable of getting you where you want to go.


Information travels around your brain at 268 miles per hour

Compare this with a Formula One car, which can hit top speeds of up to 231 miles per hour. Your brain would win that race!


Your brain is a creative force

Every work of art or piece of music in history started out in the incredible brain of the artist. 

Meanwhile, this robot has a long way to go before it can achieve anything on that level.


Your brain cares

Thanks to our brains, we’re capable of emotional responses such as empathy and caring for people.

While technology can remind you when it’s someone’s birthday, only your brain can help you think of the perfect gift.

Looking after your mind this month

Now that we’ve seen what a wonderful thing your brain is, the next step is to make sure you look after it. That’s why, throughout this month, we’re focusing on looking after your mental health.

You can check out all the great advice from our experts on our blog, or follow us on Twitter and use the #MindMatters hashtag.

Find out more about mental healthSee a GP

Topics: Mental Health