The brain is our command center, capable of sending messages in the form of electrical impulses at more than 360 km / h, thus controlling all the processes that occur in our body, both voluntary and involuntary.
In this post we are going to answer the question ‘’Where does the brain send messages through?’’ We will explain to you exactly how the brain, our command center, sends messages to the rest of the body to fulfill its functions.
Where does the brain send messages through?
The brain is the most incredible organ in our body. And so much so that, to this day, its operation and nature continue to be one of the great secrets for science. This structure of about 3 pounds with a consistency similar to gelatin is what determines who we are and is the command center of the entire organism.
Thanks to a set of neurons that, lined up, would travel more than 1,000 km, the brain is responsible for transmitting information to any region of the body, whether to move, maintain vital functions, experience sensations, think, imagine … All processes that happen in any part of our body are born in the brain.
But how does the brain get information to the whole body? In what form is this information? In today’s article we will answer these and other questions about how the brain sends all kinds of signals to any corner of the body.
The brain: our command center
The brain controls everything. Absolutely everything. Breathing, thoughts, heartbeat, our movements, our senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing, what we remember, digestion … It is what makes a set of cells organs and tissues function as one.
It is the nucleus of the central nervous system, which is responsible for processing and sending information throughout the body.
Formed by the brain and spinal cord, it has the function of both generating responses and conducting them to the peripheral nerves of the body, which branch out to any organ and tissue in the body.
And the way our body sends information is through electrical impulses. That is, everything we feel and do with the body is through this flow of electrical signals.
Thanks to these impulses, the brain send the information since everything that the organs and tissues of the body need to act is encoded in these signals.
Let’s imagine that we touch something that is very hot.
What the brain will do is, after being alerted by the sensory touch receptors, generate an electrical impulse that will travel at an incredible speed (over 360 km / h) through the nervous system until it reaches the muscles of the area of the body that is feeling pain, with a very clear message: “take your hand away.”
But how does the brain manage to deliver these electrical impulses so quickly? Where does “electricity” travel? We will continue to analyze it below.
What happens inside?
What happens inside the brain continues to be one of the great mysteries not only of medicine but of science in general. However, we understand more and more what happens inside this incredible organ.
And to understand how it works, we have to debunk one of the great myths about it, which is that “the brain is our most important muscle.” No. The brain is not a muscle. If it were a muscle, it would have to be made up of myocytes, that is, muscle cells.
And it is not like that. The brain is made up of billions of neurons, a very specialized type of cell that is actually the functional parts. In other words, the brain is nothing more than the structure that houses neurons.
The skull, the meninges, the cerebrospinal fluid and the very substances that make up the brain to give it that typical consistency are nothing more than structures that have a simple purpose: to maintain the integrity of neurons and provide them with a medium in which they can develop and communicate with each other properly.
And this is where we get closer to how the brain transmits information. From this point on, we have to stop thinking of the brain as that jelly-like mass and start visualizing it as a network of billions of interconnected neurons.
Neurons are throughout the body, as they are the cells that make up the nervous system. And, of course, neurons reach any region of the body.
What happens is that, with the exception of the brain, neurons are simply a “highway” through which information flows. In the brain they reach a much higher level of complexity.
And it is from this neuronal interconnection of the brain that, simply starting from cells with a size smaller than 0.1 millimeters, when connecting with each other they are able to generate thoughts, emotions, dreams, store memories, control the heartbeat, make us walk, move our arms, experience sensations … Everything.
Everything is born from the communication between neurons.
Obviously, the subject is much more complex, but it would be impossible to analyze it in this article.
Therefore, we must stay with this, with what happens inside the brain is that there are billions of neurons that form a kind of spider web, interconnecting with each other and being capable of generating and transmitting electrical impulses.
The brain is “just” that: a machine to generate electrical signals with the ability to redirect them to the entire body. Now we will see how these impulses are born and how they reach any organ or tissue in the body.
How does it send the information?
Now we know that the brain is our command center and that it is only the neurons that control everything. Therefore, our “I” is nothing more than a set of billions of neurons constantly generating and transmitting electrical impulses.
Everything begins when there is “something” that turns on, that is, that activates, a region of our brain. To understand it better, we will continue with the example of touching something that is burning.
Our skin is full of pain receptors, which are part of the sense of touch and, therefore, of the nervous system. When some disturbance (something is too hot) activates these receptors, the sensory neurons are responsible for sending, through the electrical impulses that we have been mentioning, the signal “this is burning” to the brain.
When this message reaches the brain’s neural network, they analyze the information and “realize” that you have to remove your hand from there as soon as possible because if it is burning, it may harm us.
Therefore, when the message arrives, neurons in the brain (in the region responsible for processing what comes from the sense of touch) are activated. And when they are activated, the interesting thing begins.
“Activated”, in the realm of neuroscience, means to become electrically charged. Therefore, when the brain neurons want to send a signal, whatever it is, from “remove your hand” to “move your leg”, through “heart, keep beating” and any process in the body, they must generate an electrical impulse.
Therefore, in our brain, millions of electrical impulses are being generated at every moment, which are born inside the neurons of the brain’s neural network. Once these neurons have the electrical signal with the information “we have to remove the hand” encoded, it is essential that this message reaches the muscles of the hands.
But if the information stayed in the brain and could not travel, this would be impossible. For this reason, nature has endowed living beings with the ability to perform an amazing process known as synapses.
The synapse is, basically, a way for neurons to “go passing” the message to each other. Information is born in the brain, but afterwards, all the neurons that make up each of the nerves in our body participate in the message reaching its destination.
The nervous system forms a network similar to a “highway” that originates in the brain but extends throughout the body. And the way that the neurons in the brain pass information to those in the nerves is through this neural synapse, an incredible chemical process.
When neurons in the brain have been electrically activated and, therefore, have generated the message, they begin to produce neurotransmitters, molecules that are synthesized with characteristics according to the electrical impulse and that are released into the space between neurons.
Once the first neuron has generated neurotransmitters, these are captured by the next neuron in the network, which “absorbs” them and, once it has done so, a series of changes take place inside it that lead it to become electrically charged in the same way. than the previous one and, therefore, carrying the same message.
This second neuron will conduct the electrical impulse throughout its length until it reaches the region where the neurotransmitters are synthesized, which will be captured by the next neuron.
This third neuron will absorb them again and will be electrically activated to pass the message to the fourth; and so on billions of times until, starting from the brain, the nerves that control muscle movements are reached. And all this happens in thousandths of a second.
When the electrical impulse, which was born in the brain but which, thanks to the synapse and despite having “jumped” from neuron to neuron millions of times, remains intact with the information of “you have to remove your hand from here because we are burning , reaches the muscles, these are activated by order of the nerves and, in effect, we remove our hand from there.
And this is how the brain transmits information: generating electrical impulses within an incredibly complex neural network and “passing” the message between neurons thanks to a chemical process in which molecules are released that cause all the neurons in the network to start activating one after another until reaching the destination.
And just like this example of burning, all other imaginable physiological processes, both voluntary and involuntary, follow the same principle.
FAQS: Where does the brain send messages through?
What sends messages to and from the brain?
The thalamus is responsible for sending messages from sensory organs, such as the eyes, ears, nose, and fingers, to the cerebral cortex.
Which part of the brain are the messages carried to?
The brain stem receives, sends, and coordinates messages in the brain.
How does the brain communicate with the body?
The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells, called neurons. They communicate with each other, and with other parts of the body, by sending messages (nerve impulses) through a network of nerves.
How does your body move does the brain send it messages to move?
By transmitting chemical and electrical signals, neurons interact with each other. Each neuron is linked through tiny junctions called synapses” with other neurons. Impulses rush from one neuron to the next along thin fibres, like electrical wires.
What gland is activated especially during emergencies?
SNS activation triggers epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) to be released by the adrenal glands, which results in the “fight-or-flight” response.
In this post we answered the question ‘’Where does the brain send messages through?’’ We explained to you exactly how the brain, our command center, sends messages to the rest of the body to fulfill its functions.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know!
Maris, G. (2018) “The Brain and How it Functions”. Research Gate.
Brosnan Watters, G. (2002) “The Secret Life of the Brain”. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education.