Now we know many things about the brain, but many other aspects have yet to be discovered. Professor Alberto Albanese, Supervisor of Neurology at Humanitas, spoke about this for Radio 24’s “Heart and money”.

“The brain has evolved in layers, that added one by one throughout evolution. Thus, our brain is not just more complex than that of animals or inferior species. It has layered with discontinuities in phylogenetic evolution. That is to say, from inferior animals to the human species.

We then know that brain is plastic. It is not just a decision-maker, instead it can also listen and change. This possibility of changing in the connections (and thus in the function) of the brain is one of the most interesting and alluring aspects we can explore, also on a personal level, because this means that we can change brain-wise.

We also know a lot about the diseases that affect the brain, and in the last thirty years we developed many medications and therapies. We expect to keep offering better cures to patients who suffer from these diseases, and maybe even defeat some of them”, Prof. Albanese explains.

The brain never sleeps

“Sleep is paramount for our health and for our brain. In fact, it is a recovery moment in which biochemical restoring takes place. Important components of neurons get synthesized, so that neurons rest, but they also renovate themselves and regenerate during sleep. The absence of sleep, caused by particular diseases such as fatal familial insomnia, is incompatible with life. Sleep is absolutely necessary not only to live but also to live well”, the professor says.

Is it true that we only use a part of our brain?

“Yes, and this is perfectly normal. This does not mean that our brain is inactive, but just that it works in blocks like computers”, Professor Albanese points out.