Growing up in an age where videos or images can become memes overnight, or where ideas proliferate by social media, it isn’t surprising that people get things wrong. Even by traditional word of mouth, myths can be stated as facts, and facts as foolish ideas. Here are a few common brain myths that need to be put to rest.
1. You only use 10% of your brain.
This myth has been perpetuated by Hollywood through movies like Limitless and Lucy. However, get in any MRI machine and you will see that indeed, we humans use all our brain. Does everyone use their brain to their full potential? Possibly not, but they still use their brainstem unconsciously to breathe and regulate their body, the cerebellum to move in a coordinated fashion, and their whole cerebral cortex to see, hear, move, make decisions, learn, and perform all other activities of daily living.
2. Left-Brain/Right-Brain Personalities
Language and logic was considered to be associated with the left hemisphere of the brain, and artistic ability was thought to be on the right side. But to dispel this myth, just get in that MRI machine again and read a book. Or draw a picture. You’ll see that both hemispheres do all things to work together to process everything we do. So, while it is true that a person could be better at art, or maybe a more logical thinker than another person, that doesn’t mean that they use one side more dominantly than the other.
3. Brain damage is permanent
This myth is based off old scientific opinions that the brain could not create new cells. Recently, scientists have discovered something called neurogenesis, meaning the creation of new brain cells. Furthermore, we have confirmed that neuroplasticity occurs. This means that the brain can rewire itself and form new connections. For example, patients with a stroke can relearn speech and the ability to move. This is also why amputees feel phantom limbs! It’s because the part of the brain that was associated with the lost limb has now rewired itself and is associated with another part of the body. The idea of neuroplasticity is what chiropractic neurology is all about: helping the brain heal itself.
There are plenty of other brain myths out there, but new evidence is being discovered to prove many of them wrong. By learning more about the brain yourself, you could help stop the perpetuation of these myths, and help people understand how truly amazing the brain is!
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