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Top 10 Mysteries of the Brain
  1. What are dreams are made of? Although scientists agree that dreaming occur during your deepest sleep periods, they are still debating over the question of what dreams are made of. One explanation is that dreams are actually a way to exercise the brain via the activation of neurons.
  2. Why do we sleep? Despite the fact we spend more than a quarter of our lives sleeping, the actual reason for this behavior is still unknown. We do know that sleep is crucial to our survival: extended periods without sleep can lead to hallucinations and even death.
  3. What are phantom feelings? It is estimated that 80% of the amputees feel some sensations, including pain, itching and warmth from the missing limb. One of the several possible explanations to this phenomenon is that the brain is hard-wired to operate as if the body is still intact.
  4. What influences our biological clock? Our bodies are programmed to follow a 24-hours cycle. This cycle affects our sleep-wake cycles, but also our blood pressure and heart rate. Scientists were able to learn that light intensity can adjust the biological clock back and forth by regulating the hormone serotonin, but are still struggling to unveil the full mystery behind this mechanism.
  5. How do we create memories? Scientists are using brain imaging techniques to unravel the mechanism responsible for the creation and storing of memories. As a result, we know that a certain area of the brain called the Hippocampus is taking part of this process, but the actual process of memory storing is still unknown to science.
  6. Why do we laugh? Laughter is one of the least known human behaviors. Although it is known to make us feel better, the question remains as to why different people laugh from different things. One of the assumptions is that it has a social context to it, evoking a sense of situational understanding.
  7. Are we affected by nature of by nurture? Or in other words, what affects us the most, our genes or our environment? The common wisdom is both, but we are still trying to determine which influence more in which situations.
  8. Why do we age? Our bodies come with a built in mechanism to fight diseases and injuries. Yet, as we age this mechanism weakens. The two leading theories of aging point to two reasons: 1. Aging is part of our genetics and is beneficial to some degree. 2. Aging has no purpose and is caused to cellular damage accumulated in our lifetime.
  9. Can we live forever? The answer is probably no, but scientists are using deep freeze techniques, using temperature as low as minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit to keep posthumous bodies intact until science will be able to find a solution to this question.
  10. What makes us conscious? We might under-appreciate it, but our ability to perceive our environment and experience subjective experiences of it has occupied scientific research for decades. This mechanism is still considered to be a mystery, as questions are added to the list.

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