Warning! Layman's question! =)

Pieter Unema pjau at arbw3.kf.TU-Berlin.DE
Mon Jan 9 04:06:24 EST 1995


Tom Salyers (at425 at yfn.ysu.edu) wrote:


:   Greetings.  I'm trying to write a science fiction story in my spare time,
: but I can't seem to find the research material I need in the local university
: library.
:   My central question is this: is the human sense of passing time a factor
: of neurochemistry? And if so, would it be possible (given the right level
: of knowledge and technology, of course) to manufacture a drug that would
: alter that sense--to make two years, for instance, feel like fifty?
:   Any and all advice or pointers to reference material (not *too* technical,
: please--my training's in computer science, not neurology) will be greatly
: appreciated.

: -- 
: Tom Salyers                "Now is the Windows of our disk contents
: IRCnick: Aqualung           made glorious SimEarth by this Sun of Zork."
 Denver, CO                                    ---Richard v3.0

  If you insist, you might want to consider this (but don't quote me
  quoting this quote from J.A. Gray and J.N.P. Rawlins:

  [quote] It is now well established that the theta rhythm is generated
          in at two locations in the hippocampal foormation (in CA1 and
          the dentate gyrus[..]) and at another location in the entorhi-
,         nal cortex[..], and that these generators are under the con-
          trol of pacemaker cells in the medial septal area. The func-
          tional significance of theta remains an enigma, however.

          [..]

          Vinogradova (1975) and O'Keefe have suggested that the func-
          tion of theta is to quantize time with respect to the 
          passage of different items of information through the SHS
          (=septohippocampal system, PU).
          [..]
          An alternative hypothesis is that theta paces the passage
          of successive items of information around all the loops
          that make up the SHS and the Papez-circuit.

          [..]
          ..there are two types of theta. The first (atropine- resis-
          tant) type is associated with movement.[..].The second (atro-
          pine sensitive) is not associated with movement, and may be
          blocked by systemic anticholinergics, and is of relatively
          low frequency
  [unquote]


  Mind you, the theta rhythm is an electrocortically measurable rhythm
  of around 7.7 Hz. Gray and Rawlins do not, however, explicitly asso-
  ciate the theta rhythm with time perception. It is up to you to 
  abuse this kind of information :-)

  Gray, J.A., and Rawlins, J.N.P.: Comparator and Buffer Memory. An
        Attempt to Integrate two Models of Hippocampal Function. In:
        R.L. Isaacson and K.H. Pribram (Eds.): The Hippocampus (Vol.4).
        Plenum Press, New York and London.

  PS: Send me a copy of your story. I love SF.

  Greetings,

  Pieter Unema
  Institut fuer Arbeitswissenschaft
  Technical University of Berlin

.




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