For all vertebrate animals and a majority of invertebrate animals the brain forms the centre of their nervous system.
In vertebrates, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull and close to the main sense organs.
Brains are extremely complex and control other organ systems in our body, by activating muscles or releasing hormones. This allows us to rapidly respond to changing circumstances and the environment in which we all live.
Our brains and spinal cords are made up of numerous cells, including neurons and glial (glue) cells. Approximately 100 billion neurons in the brain send and receive electro-chemical signals. There are many more glial cells which provide support functions for the neurons. A couple of examples of the support functions glial cells provide are the digestion of dead neurons and provision of physical and nutritional support for neurons.
Neurons vary in size from 0.004mm to 0.1mm in diameter and from a fraction of a centimetre to over 182 centimetres in length.
Neurons are nerve cells that transmit nerve signals to and from the brain at up to 200 mph/321km!
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system, with many scientists investigating diseases which you may be familiar with – brain tumours, Alzheimer’s/Senile Dementia, Parkinson’s and strokes.