Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brain Drain

I was just reading that scientists have verified that the human brain can grow new brain cells. Well, that's a relief. All these years they've been telling us once we get to be adults, we don't get any more of the little rascals. What's more, they keep telling us about all the things that will kill off the ones we've got. Usually it's the fun stuff that does it, have you noticed?

They don't seem to agree on how many brain cells we have to mess with. One source insisted the human brain has around 1 trillion cells and another source would only admit to about 20 billion. That's a serious difference and if they're dying off left and right, it could be crucial, couldn't it?

The article didn't say anything about the volume of new cells, either. Let's say we kill off, oh, a billion brain cells in a year. What if there are only 27, 417 new ones grown that year? You can see how difficult it would be to plug the leak at that rate.

There's another thing that puzzles me. As I understand it, each cell can communicate with up to around 25,000 other cells. And I'm thinking, okay, when the new crew comes on board, who trains them? That can be a problem, you know.

Now, I have some brain cells that are hard-working and responsible and, by golly, they earn their keep. But some of the crews are -- how shall I put this? -- gold-bricking goof offs. For instance, you know how you carefully put something away in a safe place? And you know how, when you go to get it, you can't remember where the safe place is? That's one of the goof off crews messing with you. They're in there somewhere, drinking beer and shooting pool and not paying attention so when you ask them where you put the stash of Godiva chocolate truffles, they stand around with goofy expressions and scratch their heads and are no help at all.

So here comes the new batch of baby brain cells, all fresh and shiny. And each one can talk to 25,000 of the old dudes. What are the odds that they're going to fall in with rascally brain cells before they even meet the ones who should be their role models? That worries me. But, you know what? That could explain what happens when we of a certain age start behaving as though we've gone into our second childhood phase. It's those new brain cells being influenced by the perennially immature individuals and, sooner or later, sheer numbers will overwhelm the responsible brain cells.

You can't fire 'em and you can't train 'em but there is this: they keep drinking that beer and they're going to die off anyway. That'll teach 'em a lesson.


bb said...

My brain cells are trying to figure out if you posted at 11 p.m. How's come I got the notify at 1:40 a.m.?

And the rest of my brain cells wonder what I am doing up this early? LOL

John Bailey said...

Heh! Don't exactly know why, but I found this strangely encouraging!

Dee said...

Bonnie: maybe the notify program was drinking beer and shooting pool with my goof off guys? Seriously, it came in right away for me. Mayhap there was some traffic jam in the cyber-route between the Notify and you.

John, for more encouragement, let me refer you to where, if you scroll down just a bit, you will see how beer assists with brain cell health.