inkwellScientists have only begun to better understand the wonders of the nervous system, using increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques, and of course at the heart of the nervous system is the human brain. Way back in the early 80’s, Cliff Claven of the TV series Cheers had a clear, concise and simple theory on why Beer is Good for the brain.Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything from the memories we form to the emotions we feel. Upon receiving new information, a nerve cell transmits an electrical signal, triggering the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters at special locations called synapses. These chemicals act as messengers, passing along instructions that switch nearby cells on or off. By studying the everyday chatter between nerve cells, researchers hope to better understand communication breakdowns that might contribute to brain disorders. New tools and technologies in molecular and cellular biology are helping scientists track cell communication. Ongoing studies in animals and humans are linking deficits in neurotransmitter production and release to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. These insights could one day guide scientists to develop new drugs for these and other brain disorders.

The brain has been mapped in may ways, using many techniques and there is no end to the ways in which scientists have tried to explain how the brain works and what parts of the brain is responsible for what body function. Trying to understand and follow this head spinning research the various perspectives taxes most peoples ability to keep up.

The most efficient model for understanding the brain in terms of its evolutionary history is the famous triune brain theory developed by Paul MacLean. According to this theory, the following three distinct brains emerged successively in the course of evolution and now co-inhabit the human skull. The theory purports a reptilian brain responsible for most of our autonomous functions, the limbic brain for memory and emotions and the most recent in evolutionary terms the neocortex, responsible for the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination, and consciousness.

Scientists have conducted extensive research and made great strides in trying to document the evolutions of a brain cell from birth, division, differentiation, migration and ultimately death. They have also studied the effect of nutrition, sugar and poisons on the brain cell and many wonderful yet complex papers have been published on the topic.

On the other hand, way back in the early ‘80’s, Cliff Claven (the postman of Cheers fame) explained in lay terms why drinking beer improves brain vitality and acuity. His logic is nothing short of brilliant.

 

With such simple yet brilliant understanding and logic brain researchers should rush out and view back all episodes of Cheers looking for additional strokes of brilliance and then convince Cliff to donate his brain to research.~