© 2019 Can Caramelo

Lemon & Poppy Seed Cakes with Raspberry Glaze

Do we use 10% of our brain?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that affirmation. As a neuroscientist, I find it funny to imagine a tenth of our brain (which part would that be by the way?) in which the neurons work their asses (their dendrites!) off while next to them there are all these other neurons, totally new, with the labels still on them, resting because we only need a 10%. This would actually be amazing news for the neurodegenerative diseases.

Also, what would a genius be? Someone who uses 15%? Or 50%? Would there be somebody who in some circumstances used 100% and what kind of monster would that be?

A number of movies and science fiction works play with this affirmation and with what might happen if we were able to use more than that 10%. By this of course, the myth is perpetuated. It’s unclear where the number 10 comes from, but it is clear that there has been a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. There have even been product offerings that promised to tap into that 90% reserve.

I’ve read uncountable papers about the Human brain and have been an active researcher and there is absolutely no doubt that we use all our brain. Every area is functional and the different areas are strongly interconnected. Our brains are widely active even when we’re in a resting state, not performing any task at all. It seems that performing a task might rather result in an inhibition of a part of our resting state network than in an activation of the related areas. Ah, the beauty of our brains.

If we think in evolutionary terms it wouldn’t make any sense to have 90% of an organ that needs as much energy as our brains if we didn’t use it. Lesions to are brain can be so devastating because every area is functional. Still I think the myth is so persistent partly because there is truth in it in the way that the capacity of our brains is somewhat infinite. The more we exert our brains, the more capacity it has for learning new things. It doesn’t fill up like a hard drive.

And with that, let me transition to these little cakes that will result in an experience that takes up 100% of your brain (or close!) if you’re going to make them. They are easy and quick to make, gluten free, dairy free and sweetened with honey. You can make them with the spectacular pink glaze that will mesmerize kids and adults, but they are still very good without it.

I created this recipe for Claudia & Julia, and you can find it here (in Spanish only, sorry!!).

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