10 Fascinating Facts about the Nervous System
Nerves and the nervous system are truly fascinating! Here are 10 super-interesting facts about your nervous system.
- The nervous system can transmit signals at speeds of 328 feet (100 meters) per second, more than 8 times faster than the top speed of Usain Bolt.
- Alpha lipoic acid was discovered in 1937 and has been investigated since 1999 (over 20 years!) for nerve health.
- Every square inch of your skin contains around 1,300 pain receptors but only about 100 receptors for pressure, 40 for cold and 6 for warmth.
- Vitamin B1 was the first of the neurotropic B vitamins to be discovered in 1897 by Dutch physician and pathologist Christiaan Eijkman, who was researching the causes of beriberi. Eijkman was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1929 for his research around vitamin B1.
- In the peripheral nervous system, nerve cells can be threadlike—their width is microscopic, but their length can be measured in feet.
- Deficiency of Vitamin B12 can inhibit myelin formation, and vitamin B12 supplementation is a commonly known therapy to help re-myelination.
- The size of the nervous system ranges from a few hundred cells in the simplest worms, to around 300 billion cells in African elephants.
- B vitamins must be replenished daily as they are only stored in the body in a very small amount.
- Ouch! Our forehead and fingertips are the most sensitive to pain because of their greater density of nerve fibers which react to a pain trigger.
- The myelin sheath is responsible for increasing the speed of nerve impulses by 15 times. Without the myelin sheath, the speed is only 0.5-10 meters per second, whereas with the myelin sheath the speed is around 150 meters per second.