Enhancing Human Brain Efficiency

Image of Brain Neurons
Artistic impression of brain neuronal network (Source: W. Sashkin/iStockphoto

Why did Eistein have the ability to think through the complexity of, then current, physics, to see a new solution to the nature of the universe? Why can surgeon’s hold several large textbooks of knowledge in their head and at the ready, while dissecting someone’s abdomen?  Why do some people have a low level of anxiety, even under challenging circumstances while  others are always anxious? The organisation of the brain’s neural network has been presumed to be at the heart of this issue.

Now scientists have taken another step forward in identifying the underlying familiar/genetic responsibility for the organisation of the brain’s neural network. As reported in ABC Science News,”“The brain is an extraordinarily complex network of billions of nerve cells interconnected by trillions of fibres. In this network, efficient communication is very important. More connections make the network more efficient, allowing different parts of the brain to talk to each other quickly and effectively. On the other hand, it tries to minimise the amount of wiring it uses to connect the network, because each connection is costly in terms of the energy it consumes. So some people’s brains operate more effectively than others.”

They go onto report that, “Some of the strongest [genetic] effects we found were in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain plays an important role in things like strategic thinking, planning, and memory,”

Scientists also identify that the genetic effect is about 60% of the effect on organisation, the other 40% presumably coming from environmental influences such as parenting, physical, emotional, social and spiritual environment, academic, artistic and moral education.

From this further evidence, we might then reiterate the view that the genetics provides us with our basic capacity and propensity, while our education (environment) orchestrates that capacity and propensity. It has long been known that discipline in religious practice (prayer, meditation, practice of virtue, service) mitigates against depression. We also know that the diversification of genetic inputs strengthens the overall phenotype (otherwise known as the ‘mongrels are tougher theory’ ). Perhaps as we get to know more about the enhancement of neural network organisation and vital educational facilitation of strong efficient networks, we might find insights to enhance the cultural concepts for choosing a mate, and educational considerations such as parenting, learning, social roles of children. My money has, for nearly 30 years, been on the teachings of Baha’u’llah, with His extensive views on spiritual education, global social harmony, and governance, as the most significant framework to model and showcase such new understanding of the functional physiology of the brain to humanity as a whole.

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