Top 10 Fun Facts About the Nervous System

The human body is more detailed than any program or construction plan. So let’s start our journey of gaining new pieces of knowledge about the human nervous system!

And this little trivia on fun facts about the nervous system might help you understand it better.

Fun facts about the nervous system
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

1. Introduction

We interact using phones and letters. But, what about our bodies? How do they communicate within themselves? How does the message from the head reach the toe?

The explanation for this would be the Nervous System.

It not only acts as the mediator between other systems but also helps in interpreting emotions and situations. So now you know who it is that talks to you when you think you are thinking.

The Neurons: Their basic cell unit- is crowded in every part of our body. Therefore information from all corners is available at all times. The Brain and Spinal Cord are also part of the Nervous System.

All activities, from breathing to walking, are the results of the nervous system’s hard work.

Along with helping in coordinating complicated metabolic processes, it also accommodates numerous fun facts that might fetch you long-awaited answers to some of your questions. For example, why do we yawn when we see someone else yawn?

But, before we dive into the fun facts about the nervous system, let’s look at what our nervous system has to offer to the human body in the first place.

2. The Human Nervous System Consists of Two Categories

Nervous System
Image by VSRao from Pixabay

The Brain and Spinal Cord are the only Central Nervous System CNS members.
The Peripheral Nervous System PNS includes all the other nerves or nerve fibres of the body.

The Spinal Cord is like a central highway connecting sensory neurons to all locations. It is a junction for all nerve cells to meet and a two-way pathway where messages are transmitted to and fro from the brain. In a simple way, it is a way through which all the nerve impulses reach the brain. You can call it the human traffic jam that moves pretty smoothly.

3. 10 Fun Facts About the Nervous System

3.1. Fact 1: There Are More Nerve Cells in the Human Body Than the Number of Stars in the Milky Way Galaxy

Fun facts about the nervous system related to the stars inMilky way Galaxy
Photo by Shot by Cerqueira/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2021

As children, while practising uncountable nouns, our teachers always gave the example of the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

But did you know that the number of neurons in a single human is enough to outnumber the stars of our very own Galaxy? Probably not. 

We have billions of neurons embedded in every part of our body.

This fact shows us the characteristics of quantity through the reference to stars. It also justifies how the Nervous System can stay in contact with each tissue in our body.

3.2. Fact 2: Messages Travel at the Speed of 156-268 Miles per Hour in Neurons

The Nervous System is like a chemical factory. The nerve cells here communicate using their secret language of chemicals and electrical impulses. To understand this, let’s look at the three different parts of a neuron:

  • Dendrites
  • Axon
  • The nerve endings

The branching tree-like dendrites receive information from the sensory cells and convert it into an electrical impulse.

This electrical impulse travels through the long fiber-axon to the nerve endings. 

Here the neurotransmitters are present. These neurotransmitters 1release chemicals as a reaction to the electrical charge.

The chemical signals then reach the dendrites of the neighbouring neuron through the synapse, i.e., the empty gap between the two neurons. 

This chain of transmitting signals and carrying messages occurs at a speed of- 156 to 268 miles per hour. 

Therefore, competing head to head with the speed of a race car on a racecourse.

Electric Brain
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

This fact about the nervous system shows us that accuracy and speed- are followed by moving in one direction.

3.3. Fact 3: Neurons Produce Enough Energy to Light an LED Bulb

Nerve cells work hard day in and day out, tirelessly. The endless energy generated to transmit messages is surprisingly enough to torch a 3.3 Volt LED bulb.

Image by Zee_Shutterz from Pixabay

If the Neurons get down to burning bulbs at low voltage, they can have their very own disco night.  This fact about the nervous system proves that electricity (sodium ions) runs inside us, and hence we are good conductors.

3.4. Fact 4: The Brain Shrinks as We Lose Neurons With Age

In a fetus, neurons grow at a speed of 15 million per hour, and the size of the brain triples by the time we turn a year old. However, the neurons eventually lose their ability to repair and divide. Therefore, every damage is permanent. The glial cells are hence present to protect and support cells. 

Old and young
Photo by Rod Long/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2021

This fact about the nervous system occurs because of the reduced blood flow to the brain as we age. Interestingly neurons lose weight by a gram with every coming birthday. 

3.5. Fact 5: Neurons Run Laundry While We Sleep

Photo by Gregory Pappas/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2021

The Nervous System offers a housekeeping service.

All the cleansing and excretion of toxins produced during the day requires a guide to communicate and direct. The Nervous System here plays the role of a director. 

Our body has a separate set of nerves to control bowel movements.

So next time, remember to thank your neurons for giving you a fresh start and good bowels in the morning.

3.6. Fact 6: The Composition of the Brain Differs From a Male to a Female

Image by StarGladeVintage from Pixabay

The cerebrum is a part of the human brain. Its outer layer is made out of grey matter, while the rest is white matter. The proportion, however, differs between males and females.

The grey matter is more in males, while the white is more in females. Does it matter? Yes, it does. It is the reason why the two genders have such different perspectives. 

Along with the change in the grey-white matter ratio between the two sexes, the size of the hippocampus 2and amygdala is also different. However, these fun facts do not mean any gender is superior to the other.

3.7. Fact 7: The Left and Right Side of the Brain Coordinate the Opposite Side of the Body

The brain’s structure- is divided into two parts. The left and the right side have their respective roles to play.

The left side is responsible for analysis and logical reasoning, while the right side of the brain deals with the artistic and creative aspects of thinking. Now you know who is responsible for being bad at math or good at art.

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

Did you know that the right side of the body is coordinated- by the left half of the brain and vice versa?

It’s true. After passing through the medulla, the two neuron fibres from their respective sides cross over in the opposite direction. For example, if you are writing with your right hand, then the left side of the brain is doing its work.

Click here to learn the difference between mental and emotional health.

3.8. Fact 8: Being Curious Increases the Number of Connections Between the Brain Cells

Humans have always been curious about things. For instance, some wonder- why the sky is so blue, while some want to know what’s happening inside the neighbour’s door.

Brain network
Image by geralt from Pixabay

This curiosity is something that creates an intense desire to think and understand. It puts the brain to constantly work which, improves the neuronal connections between the nerve cells. Therefore, resulting in more brain cells connecting in the human brain.

This fact about the nervous system helps us understand the evolution of the human brain over the years. It is probably our curiosity that has helped us evolve from apes to humans. 

3.9. Fact 9: The Nervous System Is Responsible for Contagious Mirror Movements

It’s rather strange to find ourselves yawning when we see another person doing it. And sometimes, we also observe ourselves touching our faces when someone else does it. Why do you think we become such copycats?

Image by tung256 from Pixabay

The answer to this behaviour of contagious movements is the mirror neurons present in the brain. 

If you look at this tendency of copying from a psychological aspect, we can say that it is a kind of adaptation. Here our body creates a matching response similar to what the optic nerves transmit for the sake of social interaction. 

So you see, this fact about the nervous system shows us that humans are creatures who urge societal acceptance.

3.10. Fact 10: Reflex Action: Fastest Signal Transmission

Whenever we touch something hot or see something bright, we unconsciously remove our hands or close our eyes tight. These responses happen within seconds, even before we realize it. It is because our body reacts immediately to danger. 

The long process of transmitting messages- is avoided. A shortcut- is sought. 

Herein the response is directly sent by the spinal cord to the motor neurons before reaching the brain through the Reflex Arc. This method allows quicker reaction and light damage.

This fact about the nervous system indicates the survival instincts of the human body. Hope you liked all these interesting facts about the nervous system.

4. In The End, Some Health Advice

  • For bodily functions to work efficiently, the body’s communication system must run perfectly.
  • A good posture is necessary as back pain can cause severe nerve damage.
  • Exercising is required so that the longest nerve- the sciatic nerve can function properly.
  • The brain controls different functions. Hence, mental peace3 is essential.
  • Meditating will help you sharpen your mind and help in the proper functioning of all body parts.

Click here to about mental health improvement.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

The Nervous system consumes 20% of the body’s energy. A balanced diet filled with nutrients will improve overall health and energy levels.

Also, read:

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5. FAQs

Q1. What Is a Fact About the Nervous System for Kids?

Nerve cells, or neurons, are the basic unit of the nervous system. There are billions of neurons in the human body. The brain consists of more than 10 billion neurons. Neurons have a nucleus or centre and two or more long fibres or spindles.

Q2. How Old Is the Nervous System?

Nervous tissue first appeared in worm-like organisms about 550-600 million years ago.

Q3. What Is the Largest Nerve in the Body?

The sciatic nerve is the longest, largest nerve in your body. Your sciatic nerve root starts in your lower back and runs down the back of each leg.

Infographic That Explains DIfferent Aspects of Nervous System Diseases
Icy Health
  1. Jiang, Shu-Heng, et al. “Neurotransmitters: emerging targets in cancer.” Oncogene 39.3 (2020): 503-515. ↩︎
  2. Rao, Y. Lakshmisha, et al. “Hippocampus and its involvement in Alzheimer’s disease: a review.” 3 Biotech 12.2 (2022): 55. ↩︎
  3. Baskaran, S., R. Abilasha, and S. Kavitha. “Importance of mental peace for physical well-being among medical and dental personnel during a pandemic-an awareness-based study.” International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2020): 1183-1189. ↩︎

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Shreya Panibhate

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