The Chemical Brain

Brain Day is on 22 July every year!

The human brain is one of the most important yet complex organs in our body. It is fascinating yet mysterious and scientists are still learning more and more about it everyday. A few years ago, I saw some interesting brain art from The Brain Project displayed outdoors at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.


When it comes to chemistry and the brain, I immediately think of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are transferred from a neuron to another cell as a way of communicating a message. They are responsible for many things including our emotions, feelings, sensations, physiological functions and movements of the human body.

There are over 500 neurotransmitters in the human nervous system. Some of the famous ones are:

  • Serotonin contributes to our emotion of happiness.
  • Dopamine provides feelings of pleasure and love.
  • Adrenaline increases alertness along with our heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Noradrenaline is released when we feel fear and anxiety, also increasing our heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Anandamide may inhibit pain and enhance pleasure, creating feelings of bliss.
  • Glutamate is important for learning and the formation of memories.
  • Acetylcholine is important for attention, thinking, learning and activating our muscles.
  • GABA helps us feel calm and improves focus.

    The Brain Coaster Set shows what serotonin (happy), GABA (calm), anandamide (bliss) and dopamine (love) look like. It's one of the bestselling items in The Chemist Tree Shop and it makes a great gift of emotions for the psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist or a housewarming party.

    Are you fascinated by the human brain? There is so much still to learn about it. If there's anything you are wondering, just ask in the comments below.

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