HUMAN BRAIN IS TEN TIMES QUICKER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
UCLA scientists discovered that dendrites (shown here in green) are not just passive conduits for electrical currents between neurons. Credit: Shelley Halpain/UC San Diego
- Brain is ten times more active than previously measured
Researchers have found the human brain to be tenfold times quicker than it was thought to be in erstwhile times.
A novel study could change the way scientists think about the human brain. Radically different approaches to treating neurochemical diseases could be the wave of the future thanks to this scheme.
Also the development of computers that function like the human brain may lie in the cards. The main momentum of the research was in the direction of the structural-functional make-up of dendrites. These are an important part of neurons.
Spikes along the dendrites allow connectivity and communication to take place. These somatic spikes are basically responsible for memory traces. These dendrites are not mechanical agents.
They are in fact quite active in their operations. They also form over 90% of the brain tissue. The spikes in dendrites are binary in nature. However now we also know that dendrites can perform both on a digital and an analog basis.
What all this means is that the brain could actually have up to ten times the capacity it is thought to possess right now. The spikes were five times more frequent in the lab rats when they were sleeping. When they were engaged in exploration, their spikes increased upto ten times the usual rate.
Previous models had supposed that learning takes place when the cell bodies of two neurons are in the active phase. The new research shows that learning takes place both when the neurons are active and so are the dendrites.
The learning experience is thus a very flexible phenomenon. It shows the malleability of the mind. From this study, the supercomputers of the future may get built. They will mimic the human mind in its marvelous architectonics.
The research is published in the March 9 issue of the journal Science.