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action potential - neuroscientific Achilles heel

GREGORY C.O'KELLY gokelly at delphi.com
Sat May 7 14:51:39 EST 1994

	Action Potentials and saltatory conduction have long been 
method and axiom for the neursciences.  The theory behind them has 
been presented in detail by Dr. John Koester in chapters 6, 7, and 8 
of the PRINCIPLES OF NEURAL SCIENCE in the essays "Membrane Potential", 
"Passive Membrane Properties of the Neuron", and "Voltage-Gated Ion 
Channels and the Generation of the Action Potential".  Unfortunately, 
upon careful examination and reading it is found that the cited 
equations for electrical circuitry do not support the claims made for 
either action potentials or saltatory conduction by myelination.  
This is shown by the application of mathematics to the equations 
presented by Dr. Koester, especially in Appendix A of that volume, and by mathemtical analysis of the claims made that are unsupported by any mathematical proof.
	The details of this analysis are presented in the paper, "Action 
Potentials:  Valued Tradition or Embarrassment?"  This paper demonstrates by means of mathematics that capacitance is not the reason for increased speed of nerve impulses on a myelinated fiber, and that appeals to the RC time constant to account for this
 increase in speed are mistaken.  This paper asserts too that all attempts to analyze action potentials in terms of ion currents where said currents are thought of as electricity are misguided; that the conflation of current with electricity would have u
s believing that water too was electrical because it flows and has ions in it, and therefore the flow of water was subject to ohm's law.  This paper has considerable consequences for the neurosciences both in the opening of vast new fields of investigati
on, and in the discrediting of the clinically inconsequential findings of the old school of the 
neurosciences which has its roots in the ideas of John Eccles, 
Kenneth Cole, Alan Hodgkin, and Andrew Huxley.
	For a copy of this paper either binhexed or in standard ascii 
format (please specify - in the latter case italics will be lost and 
the superscripts in the equations will be dropped down to the line 
itself), please write to GOKELLY at Delphi.com.  This paper is one in a series of 3.

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