How Much Data Can Your Brain Store?

Scroll down and find out...

The human brain is made up of approximately 100 billion neurons.

These excitable little electrically charged cells process and transmit signals all around the body, giving us the ability to sense, contract muscles, release hormones, store memories and learn new skills - and that's just the start.

Each one of these 100 billion neurons make approximately 1000 connections, using synapses, to other neurons, adding up to a vast and complex network of 100 trillion data points that largely do the data storage work.

So how much data does this really equate to?

Pioneering new research by the neuroscientific community has determined that the human brain could store up to 1 petabyte.

That's 0 bytes.

Let's put this gigantic number into perspective.

1 petabyte is equal to 4.7 billion copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Harry Potter Books
Watching Netflix

Watching your favourite shows on Netflix non-stop for 13.3 years.

Listening to Spotify for almost 3,000 years.

Listening to Spotify
Printed photos

Printing 48,000 miles worth of photos. That's almost enough to wrap around the earth's equator twice.

Storing the DNA of the entire population of the USA and cloning them twice.

DNA cloning

What's incredible is that our human brains can store all of this information using only 20 watts of continuous power.

The equivalent of a dim light bulb.

Battle of the Sexes

When it comes to girls vs boys, it's the ladies who come up trumps.

Women are not only better at remembering but also win at recalling faster, more accurately and in far greater detail.

Research suggests this is down to a variety of factors, including how memories are formed in childhood, the traditional caretaker role that women often take on, which helps them to hone this skill, and biological differences that emerge as male and female brains age.

But if our brains have such great capacity, why do we forget?

According to memory researchers, the sheer amount of storage capacity available is irrelevant to memory recall.

Forgetfulness and slow recall are a consequence of the storage process rather than storage space itself. This is because the human brain's storage process is slower than real-time world experience.

Imagine the brain as a music player that stored every song ever produced in history.

In order to hear your favourite song you would still need to download it to the device, decide the track and pull up the song before you could dance along.

This is how we can imagine the brain and memory.

Meanwhile our brains are also working hard to take in new information alongside performing the basic motor functions that our bodies need to stay alive.

Memory recall is far more complex than merely attempting to remember where you left your keys.

That reminds me. Where are my keys?

Sadly, our brains don't only forget memories but can also deteriorate leaving irreparable damage.

The ability to access information in the brain can be hindered by injury and disease.

Nerve fibres in the brain become fragile and can even disconnect, sealing themselves off.

These fibres, otherwise known as axons, are vital for carrying information around the body and the damage that follows can often be the leading cause of Alzheimer's and dementia.

But......we can fight back!

Although there is currently no cure for many brain deterioration diseases and the best way to keep your brain in check is by living a healthy lifestyle.

Brain equation

Maintaining a nutritious diet rich in omega-3 and antioxidants, cutting our alcohol intake, getting regular exercise and sleeping well are the best ways to look after our body's most precious organ.

If our brains continue to progress...

What will the brain of the future look like?

Future brain 1 Future brain 2 Future brain 3 Future brain 4 ?

If you think the concepts behind Total Recall and the Matrix were the stuff of science fiction, think again.

Feeding knowledge directly into your brain could be a reality within our lifetime, with researchers claiming to have developed simulators than can teach new skills in short periods of time.

Studies have used electric signals from trained pilots and 'uploaded' the data into novice subjects to assist them with learning how to fly a simulator plane - with staggering results.

Although on a much smaller scale than sci-fi movies, this medical tech is just the start of things to come.

This piece was brought to you by Comms Express, the UK's leading supplier of I.T networking products.

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If you would like more information on Alzheimer's and dementia, visit the Alzheimer's Society for advice and support.