Theory of Brain Function, Quantum Mechanics and Superstrings

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D. Nanopoulos

Psychological or Personality profile as a function of time, parametrized by different values of the MT-network synchordic collapse frequency γ (≡ 1/τc“Brain”), as indicated in (a) through (d)

Recent developments/efforts to understand aspects of the brain function at the subneural level are discussed.
MicroTubules (MTs), protein polymers constructing the cytoskeleton, participate in a wide variety of dynamical processes in the cell.
Of special interest to us is the MTs participation in bioinformation processes such as learning and memory, by possessing a well-known binary error-correcting code [K1(13, 26, 5)] with 64 words.
In fact, MTs and DNA/RNA are unique cell structures that possess a code system.
It seems that the MTs’ code system is strongly related to a kind of “Mental Code” in the following sense.
The MTs’ periodic paracrystalline structure make them able to support a superposition of coherent quantum states, as it has been recently conjectured by Hameroff and Penrose, representing an external or mental order, for sufficient time needed for efficient quantum computing.
Then the quantum superposition collapses spontaneously/dynamically through a new, stringderived mechanism for collapse proposed recently by Ellis, Mavromatos, and myself.
At the moment of collapse, organized quantum exocytosis occurs, i.e., the simultaneous emission of neurotransmitter molecules by the synaptic vesicles, embedded in the “firing zone” of the presynaptic vesicular grids.
Since in the superposition of the quantum states only those participate that are related to the “initial signal”, when collapse occurs, it only enhances the probability for “firing” of the relevant neurotransmitter molecules.
That is how a “mental order” may be translated into a “physiological action”.
Our equation for quantum collapse, tailored to the MT system, predicts that it takes 10,000 neurons O(1 sec) to dynamically collapse, in other words to process and imprint information.
Different observations/experiments and various schools of thought are in agreement with the above numbers concerning “conscious events”.
If indeed MTs, with their fine structure, vulnerable to our quantum collapse mechanism may be considered as the microsites of consciousness, then several, unexplained (at least to my knowledge) by traditional neuroscience, properties of consciousness/awareness, get easily explained, including “backward masking”, “referal backwards in time”, etc.
Furthermore, it is amusing to notice that the famous puzzle of why the left (right) part of the brain coordinates the right (left) part of the body, i.e., the signals travel maximal distance, is easily explained in our picture.
In order to have timely quantum collapse we need to excite as much relevant material as possible, thus signals have to travel the maximal possible distance.
The non-locality in the cerebral cortex of neurons related to particular missions, and the
related unitary sense of self as well as non-deterministic free will are consequences of
the basic principles of quantum mechanics, in sharp contrast to the “sticks and balls”
classical approach of conventional neural networks.
The proposed approach clearly belongs to the reductionist school since quantum physics is an integrated part of our physical world.
It is highly amazing that string black-hole dynamics that have led us to contemplate some modifications of standard quantum mechanics, such that the quantum collapse becomes a detailed dynamical mechanism instead of being an “external” ad-hoc process, may find some application to some quantum aspects of brain function.
It looks like a big universality principle is at work here, because both in the black hole and the brain we are struggling with the way information is processed, imprinted, and retrieved.

“…the Astonishing Hypothesis – that each of us is the behavior of a
vast, interacting set of neurons.” Francis Crick in The Astonishing Hypothesis

“…what will they think? – What I tell them to think.” Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

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Written by physicsgg

November 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

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