Brains, temperature, etc. [Re: sci:Understanding Neuroscience]

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 09:17:54 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 6 Sep 1999, Gabriele Betti wrote:

> I'd like to know if there is a connection between temperature, brain,
> tumors(?).

The temperature of the human body is very tightly regulated. It is known to decline a little during sleep (perhaps 1 degree) and if it follows the pattern in animals, it would also be lower if you are practicing caloric restriction (for lifespan extension). Tumors, due to their higher metabolic activity, are warmer than the surrounding tissue. It would however take a very large tumor to raise the body temperature significantly. You would raise your temperature much more simply by hard exercise.

> Could it be possible to make a connection between these factors and social
> behaviour?

If (and this is a big if) brains that had more connections had higher metabolic activity, there might be a correlation between brain temperature and how intelligent (or interesting a person was). Tumors can in some cases cause behavior alterations but brain tumors are much rarer than other forms of cancer.

Of course there is a significant connection between having a brain and having a temperature. I suspect that people like Jeremy Rifkin have neither. :-)