Brain power: It’s heady stuff during awareness week

Leslie Stone-Roy talks to high school students about the human brain.

Brainiacs from Colorado State University are headed to Poudre High School in early April in honor of Brain Awareness Week, a global event that’s all about the gray matter.

Picture of the back of a head without a skull, so that the brain is open. Unlabeled alphabetical markers surround the head.Leslie Stone-Roy, a neuroscientist in the CSU Department of Biomedical Sciences, annually leads the outreach effort for northern Colorado high-school students. Other university volunteers also share their scientific fascination with the brain.

Top Five Fascinating Brain Facts

Here are Stone-Roy’s Top Five Fascinating Facts About the Human Brain:

  1. It weighs about 3 pounds
  2. It’s the center of the human nervous system, yet the brain doesn’t have any pain receptors. That means brain surgery can be done on somebody who is awake.
  3. The brain begins as a flat plate of tissue – then folds, grows, twists, turns and grows some more, resulting in its unique appearance.
  4. The brain can be a trickster: Not everything we perceive is real; that’s the basis for optical illusions.
  5. Brain processes use about 25 percent of the body’s total oxygen consumption.

Students who catch the brain wave may major in neuroscience, a new CSU undergraduate program that focuses on the nervous system and prepares students for careers in human medicine, veterinary medicine, clinical psychology, behavior research, and more. The program is jointly offered by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences.