MAY 05, 2016 03:28 PM PDT

Inside the Hallucinating Brain

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The brain has about 100 billions of neurons and at least 100 trillion neuron connections. These cells and connections make it possible for us to integrate all the stimuli around us into meaningful responses. However, the brain can also be stimulated in the absence of real stimuli, causing people to see or hear things that aren't there. These hallucinations challenge what we know about how the brain functions.

Nearly half of the population has experienced hallucinations at least once, dispelling the myth that these abnormal processes are uncommon. Hallucinations are well-associated with mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. Other neurological illnesses, like migraines, epilepsy, and brain tumors, can also bring bouts of hallucinations. Exposure to certain chemicals, like LSD and some mushrooms, are known to induce wild perceptions of reality. Moreover, healthy people not under the influence of drugs can also experience delusions when they're under stress or not properly fed/hydrated.

Researchers are still deciphering why hallucinations occur, but the evidence suggests chemical imbalances in the brain are likely at play. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 08, 2018
Videos
NOV 08, 2018
Will There Ever be a Cure for the Common Cold?
Will There Ever be a Cure for the Common Cold? Well, one of the reasons why the common cold is not being cured—is it’s so difficult to attack a...
NOV 22, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 22, 2018
The Hottest Spice That You Probably Don't Want to Savor
Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 cation channel, or TRPV1, plays an important role in the human body in sensing heat and pain.  Coincidentally...
NOV 22, 2018
Videos
NOV 22, 2018
The science of gratitude
On a day like Thanksgiving, it is easy to remember all that we are thankful for. But for a while now scientists have been trying to crack the code behind t...
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
Here's What Makes Mars So Challenging to Land On
Humankind has sent spacecraft to a plethora of worlds in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, moons, and planets. Of all, Mars has consistently p...
DEC 03, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 03, 2018
Why Do Some Men Have Trouble Growing Beards?
There are two types of men in this world: those that can grow robust beards, and those that can’t. But why is it that some men get stuck with patchy,...
DEC 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 05, 2018
Stretchable Ultrathin Electronic Skin Produced from a Desktop Printer
Electronic tattoos or e-tattoos are flexible polymer patches that can sense and transmit electrical signals. e-tattoos have great potential in advancing medical prosthetics and human-machine...
Loading Comments...