What weighs three pounds and is much more than a slimy, spongy mass? The human brain, of course. It’s the most complex organ in the body — home to 86 billion neurons that act like a miraculous supercomputer, allowing our bodies to function and our minds to roam freely.
But how much do you really know about your own brain? If you’re brain-curious, a visit to BrainFacts.org may be in order.
The site — a public initiative of the Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Society for Neuroscience — is a database of all things brain. It’s edited by neuroscientists who present a wealth of information about the human organ, from its anatomy to its place in society.
The site has articles, videos and interactive features designed to make brain learning fun. It’s appropriate for educators and students, but you don’t have to be in school to dip in.
Take the site’s 3-D brain feature, an interactive model that lets you explore brain structures and learn more about what they do. You can click on different structures, or use a drop-down menu that points out various parts and explains their functions. (Can you comprehend this article? You have Wernicke’s area to thank. The temporal lobe structure allows humans to understand spoken and written language.)
Informative articles about behavior, brain diseases and disorders, and research all provide different ways to approach the sometimes mind-boggling organ. The site’s “Ask an Expert” section lets readers submit brain- and neuroscience-related questions and read expert answers on topics, such as how much energy the brain uses and whether migraine and seizures are related. Many articles include reference lists so you can delve further into the science.
Videos are another way into the topic. A series on “Meet the Researcher” introduces neuroscientists and their work.
The site also offers a newsletter, various social media presences (BrainFacts’ Instagram account serves up surprisingly pretty brain imagery) and a “find a neuroscientist” feature that connects educators and event organizers with brain scientists.