Is the Brain a Muscle?


Quick Answer

The brain is not a muscle. It is structurally different from the muscles of the body, and it is made from different tissues that are physically and chemically distinct from muscles. The brain also is used for a different purpose than the body's muscles, as it doesn't move or apply direct force to any other structure the way a muscle does with a bone.

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Full Answer

The brain is a complex organ that forms the core of the central nervous system. It is composed of two main types of cell: neurons and glial cells. Glial cells make up the scaffolding that holds the brain in shape, provide metabolic support for the energy-hungry organ's minute-by-minute operation and insulate its structures from unexpected shocks and other damage.

Neurons are what make the brain unlike any other organ in the body. The brain thinks, feels, perceives and acts through the electrochemical interactions of the neurons. These cells convert electrical impulses from the body into chemical exchanges along complex pathways inside the brain. They then send impulses back down to the body to control its actions. In this way, the brain controls the body's muscles without being one itself. Destruction of brain tissue can reduce or eliminate the ability to control certain muscles in the body.

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