This may be the most important question that we can ask. When it comes to brain function, no one knows the true answer. Scientists have spent years trying to figure out how many brain cells we have in our head. While they were able to determine the quantity, they were not able to determine how many of those brain cells were actively working. So, what does this all mean for us?
If we are to find out the answers to these questions we must first understand how the brain works. The brain is a highly complex piece of machinery. The neurons fire off chemical signals to and from other neurons, which are located all over the brain. The connections between these neurons form the synaptic pathways through which information is passed from one part of the brain to another.
What we are looking for is how many brain cells do we have. In order to answer this question, we must be able to measure the number and types of neurons at a synapse. One of the easiest ways to do this is to hook up a device called an EPI neutron probes to a conventional MRI machine. Once the EPI Neuro probes are placed in the area of interest, the MRI images produced by the machine can clearly see which neurons are active.
A different way to determine how many brain cells do we have is to look for them in the human brain stem. The Human brain stem controls the production and maintenance of new neurons throughout the entire human body. A deceased person’s brain stem can appear very active as a result of seizures or a stroke. When the stem cells in the human brain die, we can clearly see the changes that have taken place.
There is one area of the brain where we actually measure the proliferation of neurons. This is the region of the brain referred to as the entorhinal cortex. This part of the brain is directly involved in visual processing and memory. If the neurons in the entorhinal cortex are not growing as rapidly as they should be then the person may have difficulties with remembering things or performing activities of daily living. As we learn more about how the brain functions we will eventually be able to answer the question, how many brain cells do we have?
While we may never know the exact number of brain cells we have, the answers to the questions above are helping to establish what the count is. As scientific research continues into this area of brain function, we will hopefully find more ways to find out how many brain cells we have and how our brain defines the number of neurons that it possesses. Until then, we can use the answers to help us define symptoms and seek treatment for brain disorders. Keeping track of our own brain’s activity is a great way to keep our minds active and healthy.