5 Myths About the Brain Debunked

Here at Advanced Rejuvenation I deal with the brain every day. Because of that, we also help patients who have legitimate brain issues. That said, we hear a lot of myths spreading about the brain. Are men and women really wired differently? Do we only use a small percentage of our brain? Are creative people and analytical people different because the use one part of their brain more? Do substances like alcohol kill your brain cells? Does introducing your child to classical music make him or her smarter?

These are all questions we hear and we thought we’d address rumors and set the record straight. Here is what we know not to be true:

Only a Certain Amount (10%) of Your Brain is Used

10 is the magical number circulating in society—10% is all we use of our brains. This is incorrect. Our brain is a complex organ that develops over several years. While not 100% of our brain is used at one time, several parts of the brain are working together at once, and it’s certainly more than 10 %.

It’s the Left Brain vs. the Right Brain

The thought that some people’s personalities are defined by which side of their brain they use more is simply incorrect. The idea that creative people act with more of the right side of their brain and that analytical people act more using the left side of their brain, isn’t right. In fact, both sides of the brain work whether a person is reading literature or solving a mathematic equation.

Male and Female Brains Are the Reason they Behave Differently

Similarly to the thought that “left brainers” are different from “right brainers,” it is thought that men’s brains work differently than women’s. Hence the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” phrase that baby boomers have been toting around for decades. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but this isn’t true. While the hormones secreted in the brain may be different, and that during the developmental period there are some changes that differ, the adult male and female brain differences do not account for any difference in behaviors between the sexes.

Classical Music Makes You Smarter

This is a myth that came about in the 1950s and became really popular in the 1990s. A high school teacher allowed her students to listen to Mozart before an exam and noted that the students had scores significantly higher after listening to this composer. Since then, there has been a frenzy of parents pushing their children to listen to classical music in hopes that it will increase their IQ. While learning an instrument does help an individual over time, simply listening to the music will not help a person develop any kind of super human intelligence.

Alcohol Damages Your Brain Cells

While alcohol does have an effect on your brain cells, it doesn’t kill them. If it did, well, it’d kill you too. What alcohol does is that it affects the dendrites in the brain. Dendrites are found at the end of the neurons in your brain and so when they are damaged, so are you communication abilities. Long-term abuse to alcohol can lead to alcohol-related dementia and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. So no, having a cold beer or a martini after a long day now and then won’t harm your brain long term, but be careful in making it a habit.

Screen Shot 2011-12-26 at 5.03.28 PM