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Medicine Science

Research Finds That Electric Fields Help Neurons Fire 287

Posted by Soulskill
from the brain-and-brain-what-is-brain dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'[T]he brain is enveloped in countless overlapping electric fields, generated by the neural circuits of scores of communicating neurons. ... New work ... suggests that the fields do much more—and that they may, in fact, represent an additional form of neural communication. "In other words," says Anastassiou, the lead author of a paper about the work appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience (abstract), "while active neurons give rise to extracellular fields, the same fields feed back to the neurons and alter their behavior," even though the neurons are not physically connected—a phenomenon known as ephaptic (or field) coupling. "So far, neural communication has been thought to occur almost entirely via traffic involving synapses, the junctions where one neuron connects to the next one. Our work suggests an additional means of neural communication through the extracellular space independent of synapses."' If this work is replicated, it could reveal that the brain is even more complicated and sophisticated than we thought — and raise new concerns about whether our cellphones and other electronic gizmos are affecting brain activity and memory. This is truly paradigm-busting work."
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Research Finds That Electric Fields Help Neurons Fire

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  • Re:It sounds like (Score:5, Informative)

    by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @03:52AM (#35116746)
    If you think AI does not include brain simulation, you're as misguided as the person who thinks that's all AI is. Research is proceeding down multiple avenues, using many different approaches. The ever-progressing field of AI cares quite a bit for such things, although specific researchers either may or may not, depending...
  • by RudeIota (1131331) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @04:01AM (#35116770) Homepage
    Well, if you're aim is to INCREASE this synaptic EM phenomenon in your brain, then yes.

    For all helmets [made with foil], we noticed a 30 db amplification at 2.6 Ghz and a 20 db amplification at 1.2 Ghz, regardless of the position of the antenna on the cranium. In addition, all helmets exhibited a marked 20 db attenuation at around 1.5 Ghz, with no significant attenuation beyond 10 db anywhere else.
    http://berkeley.intel-research.net/arahimi/helmet

  • Re:It sounds like (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2011 @04:09AM (#35116794)

    I think I remember this. I had to FPGA chips where there were adjacent gates enabled but not directly connected. However when the researchers disabled those gates, the chips failed to function correctly.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/01/12/29/007258/Evolutionary-Computing-Via-FPGAs

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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