Brain uses a third of its energy on "housekeeping"


12 Responses to “Brain uses a third of its energy on "housekeeping"”

  1. ohkimber says:

    I think I use only 10% of my brain…at a time. I believe it’s true we use a greater portion of our cerebral system during certain, more complex situations; less at other times. IMO

  2. Scarybug says:

    Ever seen an MRI or EEG? Most of your brain is doing something most of the time.

    Snopes has a great article on the 10% myth.

  3. ultramoderate says:

    No wonder being completely sedentary is so exhausting. I’ve got an area of low entropy to maintain!

  4. Antinous says:

    There’s a German expression which translates to; “Did somebody shit in your brain and forget to sweep it out?” Apparently it’s self-cleaning.

  5. Matthew Miller says:

    Huh. I guess the only thing I’m surprised by is that the figure is so low.

  6. Gumby says:

    Well, it says 1/3 of the brain’s Energy budget, which is 20% of the body’s energy. Not quite the same thing as total brain capacity and usage.

  7. Carlos Leyva says:

    It is well known that we do not use but a small part of our brain’s capabilities. Tapping into even a small percentage increase in utilization would presumably pay large dividends. However, this study seems to indicate that much of the brain’s power is used in “housekeeping.” That is to say, in maintaining the necessary infrastructure to allow the rest of the brain to work. Perhaps there is not as much under used capacity as we once thought?

  8. UnderRat says:

    Mmm, Brains are a good source of calcium and potassium! Good to know when the zombie overlords claim me as one of their own.

  9. Scarybug says:

    #3, I really hope you are kidding, and are making fun of the “we do not use but a small part of our brain’s capabilities” myth.

  10. stratosfyr says:

    #3- That’s a well known urban legend. Usually phrased “We only use 10% of our brain’s capacity,” or something similar. It popped up in an episode of Star Trek: TNG. Deathstroke the Terminator is said to use 90% of his brain’s capacity. But it’s complete nonsense.

    They say that belief comes from the observation that only about 10% of neurons fire at any given time. Then a different 10% fire. Then a different 10%. Much more than that and you’re having a seizure. If, say, 50% of neurons fired at once, signals would get crossed.

    Before I knew that, I thought it came from the observation that only about 10% of the brain’s cells are actually neurons. Most of the rest are glial cells, the maintenance crew of the brain.

  11. pomokey says:

    The sodium-potassium pumps are just charging up the cells, to get the neurons ready to fire. Tis like charging a capacitor. you are separating the charges with the pumps, but they can leak back across, and you loose the charge buildup. so basically you have to constantly be pumping the ions across the membrane to keep the charge there. That way each neuron is ready to fire at any moment.

  12. Santa's Knee says:

    @#3: Cerebrwn3d!

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