Membranes

According to a research study, your body may contain approximately 37.2 trillion cells. These cells make up your organs, skin, bones, brain etc. Historically, it was believed that the proton in the cell was the brain of the cell. Recent research seems to point to the fact that the brain of the cell might actually be in your membranes. The membrane is a selective barrier around each cell. The membrane of your cell is only 7-9 nanometers thick and cannot be seen without an electron microscope. Made of lipids or fats, the membrane might just be the most important feature of your body that you never paid attention to. It virtually governs everything you do from eliminating pathogens to destroying other cells to allowing proteins and enzymes to function within your body.

If you are surprised that you do not know much about the membrane, don’t be. Until the 1950’s it was not even considered a very significant area of study. Since then, the understanding of membranes and their roles had significantly expanded. We now know that membranes contain channels transporters and gates. These channels, transporters and gates determine what goes into a cell, why and under what protocols and circumstances. The cumulative effect is what keeps you alive. Should a protein molecule be allowed into a cell? If so how much and when? If you thought matters of such grave importances were weighing on your brain, perish the thought. It was the membrane of the cell spending its grey matter to make such decisions. It is not for nothing that your membrane is called the brain of the cell; you just have 37.2 trillion brains, not one. Strangely, the primary role of the membrane is to protect the cell from everything outside.

In perhaps one of the most interesting thought experiments, scientists are attempting to study if your thoughts affect how cells and their membranes function. Can you will your membrane to respond in a certain way? If you could, scientists would have bridged the chasm between science and belief.

PS: Fun fact – there are 7 billion nanometers in a meter