Brain Functions in Muscle Control, Etc.
Brain functions are important to know so that we can utilize the brain the way it is meant to be used.
Our understanding of those functions is, however, rudimentary compared to what we need to
know and will know in the future. Among the functions that we currently
understand are the following:
- The brain controls all activities of the body and is connected to those parts by
nerves. The nervous system (including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) exits the
brain via the brain stem.
The exception to this is the twelve cranial nerves which exit the brain from various
locations on the brain itself. These cranial nerves then innervate such things as
the sense organs and some of the other tissues of the head.
- The brain stem then passes through the spine via the spinal cord and connects with the
peripheral nerves (those nerves distal from the brain and spinal cord). ["Distal" implies
remote or far from the origin, going away from.]
- It is these nerves which go to the muscles, glands, and all other structures of the
These impulse conduction channels are like highways with cars going both directions.
There are two types of nerve fibers within each nerve.
- Those which carry information
from the brain to the body tissues are called efferent nerve fibers.
Those carrying information from the body tissues to the brain are called afferent
- It is necessary for the brain to not only send directions to the tissues but it is also
important to receive information from the body tissues about it's status and what it's
- The brain functions can in turn send the correct information to the tissues so that the correct
actions can take place.
This applies not only to muscle activities but to the senses, the vital body organs, and
all other tissues of the body.
It would be a tragedy if the wrong or confused or inadequate information was sent and/or received.
Example: The need to breathe in more air for heavy activities is sent to the brain
from the tissues and the correct response is sent to the
muscles that control breathing
so that adequate levels of oxygen can be taken into the lungs for the necessary actions
to take place and continue in other areas of the body.
Another Example: The response of touching a hot stove is just a little different. The information is
sent to the brain but some of that information immediately signals the efferent fibers
(those going away from the brain to the tissues) in the spine and causes an instantaneous
reflex jerk that instantly removes the body part away from the hot stove.
As these principles relate to the muscles, it is important to have the correct impulses
sent to the right muscles to get the desired movement. Not only is that important but
it is also important to have the correct number of muscle fibers activated so that the
movement is not over or under powered.
This allows for heavy movements needed for weight lifting as well as for more refined
movements needed to play the piano and to do other things requiring manual dexterity.
It also applies to the unconscious activities of the body (those we do not have to
consciously think about) such as posture, blinking, or all of the many internal functions of the
body that just seem to happen and which we are not even aware are taking place.
If these unconscious activities didn't automatically happen, loss of brain functions and body
failures would quickly take place and death would be certain. The information that is
sent directs the action that is to take place utilizing biochemical substances.
This principle applies to all actions controlled by the brain whether it be muscle
activities or other actions in the body such as digestion, hormone production at
needed levels, or sensory needs of all kinds.
As you can see, the body is a wonderful and complex organism that far exceeds the
complexities of all of the things that man has created. The brain and it's information
highways work so well that everything in this complex body works in harmony and
balance, not only for the sustaining of our lives but for its optimum functioning,
performance, and a fullness of enjoyment.
The way the brain functions is wonderful. It is amazing. Not only does the brain
deserve to be taken care of, but it is absolutely
critical that we do everything that we can to protect it and keep it working properly.
What Can We Do?
- Exercise. Exercise, of course! We have said it before and we will
say it again. No matter what the problem, exercise is part of the solution.
- Supply oxygen. We do this through exercise and eating properly.
- Diet. Eat a good supply of the foods that have been proven to
nourish the brain.
- Water. The brain requires water. Dehydration can cause headaches,
irritability and loss of focus.
- Avoid Aluminum. Research has proven that people with Alzheimers Disease have
the same symptoms as people with aluminum poisoning. Aluminum is obvious in canned
foods, pop, cookware and aluminum foil, but it also hides in antacids, aspirin and
deodorants, etc. So be careful.
- Laugh. Although there is no conclusive proof that laughter helps
the brain, studies have shown that laughter helps hospital patients heal faster.
Laughter also reduces stress and trauma. It relieves depression. So laugh.
- Protect.Use proper equipment to protect the head and brain when participating in activities that put that area at risk. Examples:
- hard hat in construction areas
- football helmet when playing football
- seat belts when driving
- helmets when bicycling or motorcycling
Example: We can compare brain functions to the functions of a car. A car can
last a long time and serve us well, but it can also be destroyed
very quickly. If we don't do the standard maintenance that it requires, the engine
will break down and will perform poorly or even quit totally.
All of it's working parts are important. You have to take care of the breaking system,
the transmission and steering mechanisms, the engine, and even the outer, non-moving
parts need attention or can break down and begin to rust.
If parts are allowed to wear out without proper care it will impact the performance
and safety of the rest of the unit.
Our brain functions are even more important because our brain is alive. Every part is needed and must be
sustained in it's best condition to give both short and long term benefits. Movement
and brain and nerve stimulation are required to not only maintain what we have but to
develop new skills and abilities.
All of us would like to have great health when we get older. If we understand the importance
of our brain and the brain functions and do the things required, we can have a rich and meaningful
life. Even our senior years can have health, enjoyment and fulfillment.
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