Neurology

Answers to All Questions Brainy: Big Brain Book!

Have you ever wondered why your heart races when you are scared or why you need sleep? Your child might.  Big Brain Book: How It Works and All Its Quirks by Leanne Boucher Gill, PhD, is a book for kids who are interested in how the brain works!  Read The Big Brain Book in order or jump around. Either way, your child will be in awe of the squishy organ between their ears. Here’s a sample of some of the questions answered in Big Brain Book: How It Works and All Its Quirks. Brain Anatomy: How is my brain different from the brains of other animals? Most mammals, including humans, and birds have nervous systems set up with the brain located inside the head and the spinal cord in the back that acts as an information highway between the brain and body. In animals other than mammals and birds, nervous systems are a little different. For example, take the giant squid. This cephalopod not only has three hearts, but has a brain shaped like a donut! What is even stranger is that its esophagus goes right through the middle of its donut brain. If the giant squid swallows something really giant, it could potentially damage its brain as the food travels down its esophagus to its stomach. On land, there are some spiderlings (baby spiders) and very tiny adult spiders whose brains are so large relative to their body size that some of the brains end up in their legs. They’re walking brains! On the other hand, cockroaches don’t even need a brain to keep walking. If their heads get cut off, the neck seals itself and the cockroach keeps on living, walking around, until it starves to death! Ew!  ...In the ocean, when a sea squirt finally latches onto an object, be it a coral, the ocean floor, or a boat, they eat the part of their nervous system that controls their movement, their cerebral ganglia. Ganglia is the scientific term for a bunch of neurons that work together in one area. The sea squirt won’t be able to move anymore, but it’s a small price to pay for the delicious meal they just ate! The answer also contains information about differences between humans and other animals in brain structure, brain size and intelligence. Brain and Body: Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Skin is the way we get information about the world—how cold or hot it is, how windy the day is, and whether or not something (or someone) is touching us... Throughout your skin, there are specialized receptors for touch called mechanoreceptors.  Different mechanoreceptors respond to different kinds of touch information, including tickling sensations. When these mechanoreceptors are activated by tickling, they send a message to the somatosensory cortex (Chapter 11) that something (or someone) has touched you. Notice that the message sent to the brain is that “you’ve been touched”, not “you’ve been tickled.” In order for you to feel tickled, a lot more needs to happen.

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Answers to All Questions Brainy: Big Brain Book! 2021-06-08T17:20:02-04:00