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Fresh Brains Are Way Squishier Than You Thought

Brains are so soft that you can deform them with a touch

smithsonian.com

Science journalist Steve Silberman pointed us to this video—a slightly unnerving look at what a human brain looks like, fresh from a person’s recently autopsied head.

Brains, you see, are super squishy. They’re sensitive, they’re easily deformed, and they’re not at all like the rubberized or plastinated brains you may have seen at a museum.

In the video, Suzanne Stensaas explains how the preservation techniques we use to keep brains intact long-term gives them increased structural integrity. In reality, they’re basically just soft blobs of fat, easily deformed by the touch of a finger.

Brains are so soft to the touch that, in order to stay safe, your brain actually floats inside your skull in a sea of cerebrospinal fluid, separated from contact with the bone.

If nothing else, seeing this really does help make sense of the roughly 1.2 million concussions we see in the U.S. each year.

As Silberman said, seeing this video could be enough to make some people want to “put on a football helmet and never leave the house again.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Why Are Our Brains Wrinkly?
Watch People Drawing Their Own Brains

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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