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You have approximately a 171 billion total brain cells.
86 billion of these are neurons that process information, sense varied stimuli and make you... well, you.
But are there things in every day life that reduce this count?
What will kill your brain cells?
We used to think that the brain couldn't produce new neurons.
Although neurons are stabled cell type, meaning they don't multiple themselves, we now know that new neurons are produced from neural stem cells throughout our life time
But this happens only in certain areas of our brain, mainly in two small regions in the forebrain.
So, while we can make new neurons, brain cell death in large amounts may be dangerous and irreversible.
For example, within 5 minutes of a good blow to the head axons are compressed and calcium rushes into your neurons, which can signal a number of different pathways and enzymes to begin cell death.
This may explain the confusion, lost of consciousness and sensitivity to sound or light common in a concussion.
Getting enough zs?
Although the brain can react against short term sleep deprivation, a 2014 study showed too many all-nighters may be killing neurons in the locus coeruleus.
This is a region of the brain responsible for coordinating motivation and maintaining attention and arousal.
And after extended wake periods we become unable to make important proteins to keep these neurons alive.
But don't stress about that, literally.
Long term stress has been associated with damage to our hippocampus and a reduced ability to make new neurons.
Which may explain why extreme stress can lead to numerous mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, PTSD and schizophrenia.
Nicotine affects the hippocampus as well.
Cutting the creation of new neurons by 50% while also increasing cell death.
Like the smell of gasoline or permanent markers?
Although they don't cause brain damage directly, some of the chemicals in them are as asphyxiants, meaning it will despise oxygen from the air you breath and deprive your tissues of oxygen!
Ultimately killing brain cells.
Carbon monoxide, commonly released from stoves, furnaces, grills and cars, works the same way.
By hijacking your hemoglobin which normally carries oxygen in your blood cells in major organs, like the brain and heart will soffocate and die heightened of levels.
But what about alcohol?
It appears that short term exposure to alcohol doesn't kill brain cells!
But... It can reduce communication between them.
And over a longer period, chronic alcohol consumption can activate immune cells in the brain to produce pro inflammatory chemicals and free radicals that can lead to cell death.
Alcoholics can also develop a B-vitamin thiamine deficiency called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which can kill off brain cells and lead to memory problems, amnesia and lack of muscle coordination.
Taking a break from drinking may be the best way to promote neural stem cell growth and other factors from neurogenesis.
But no matter how much we might fear losing brain cells, we might have no choice in the matter.
Our brain declines by 5% of its volume per weight per decade after the age of 40 with the rate increasing around the age of 70.
Most widely experienced is memory loss which can be a normal part of aging.
Overall, we shouln't be kept a night wondering how many brain cells we lost today as losing them may be a sign that things are alright.
During development we produce many more neurons than we need and brain cells have to die to maintain the brain's complex organization.
Research in rats suggest that we lose neurons in our prefontal cortex as a way of reorganizing our brain during and after puberty.
More neurons doesn't necessarily make for a better or a smarter person, and sometimes cell death makes for a healthy life.
Thank you so much to Science Sam for narrating this video.
You need to follow her on instagram @science.sam.
She'll make you really inspired by science and also even more interested in your brain.
Know what doesn't kill your brain cells?
Podcasts!
So you should listen to ours.
We've just released our first ever live podcast from Just For Laughs in Montreal.
We were super nervous, I think we pulled it off.
Let us know what do you think using the hashtag #SidenotePodcast.
And we'll see you next week for a new science video.
Peace.
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This Will Kill Your Brain Cells!

3321 Folder Collection
Mackenzie published on September 27, 2019    Mackenzie translated    Evangeline reviewed
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