Gauss & evoked gross/unit activities (Part 3/3 of long posting)
Gabriel David Noel
Postmaster at neubio.gov.ar
Sat Apr 6 23:39:51 EST 1996
(Continuation of Part 2)
While the consciousness concern had been attended by John Edstrom
<edstrom at slugo.hmsc.orst.edu>,<http://www.hmsc.orst.edu/~edstrom>
on Mon, 1 Apr 1996 17:56:48 -0300 in signaling that
>To throw in my two cents, I think you are putting the cart before the horse.
>Until you (or someone) can present a coherent and usefull definition of
>consciousness there is no point in talking about mechanisms of consciousness.
>Without an accepted, objective, rational and reliable means of determining
>which things are conscious and which are not conscious then no scientist will
>be interested in how to explain consciousness; until consciousness is defined
>there is no phenomenon to explain.
To which on Wed, 3 Apr 1996 13:46:41 -0300 the military employee rebutted:
>... In this area, as in most and perhaps all other areas of science,
> intuition is essential. Those who don't have it will not succeed in
> producing the breakthrough needed to advance the cause of science.
On the neurobiological claims, Dr. Kevin Spencer had inmediately
remarked on Tue, 2 Apr 1996 03:03:14 -0300:
>Thanks for posting the summary of your theory. It seems to me that
>the critical issue is whether or not induction is another mechanism
>of information transmission in the nervous system -- please correct
>me if I'm wrong.
On which Zaman answered the next day, Wed, 3 Apr 1996 13:46:22 -0300
> RIGHT ON! Whether or not induction is a mechanism of information
>processing in the nervous system indeed is THE CRITICAL ISSUE I am
>addressing. Thank you for clarifying that point. Electrophysiologists, in
> their experimental studies, have concluded that there is no induction
> in electrophysiological fields. This conclusion is based on studies
> of the induction of externally-generated or exogenous fields, however.
> That is not the real issue, as I see it. The real issue is whether the
> spatiotemporal relations of the internally-generated or endogenous
> fields can be explained in terms of induction. That is where I am
> coming from, and the existing electrophysiological studies shed no light
> on this very important issue.
> ... it seems to provide a comprehensive account of the flow of
>neuronal multiunit spike activity in both space and time, which appears
>to be the basic currency of neural information processing. ...
> One of my concerns about modernity (which I expressed some concern
>about earlier in this thread) is that modern humanism seems to be based on
>the premise that the individual (conscious self) is the only thing that
>counts, while modern science is directed toward proving that the
>individual (conscious self) in fact does not exist. Taking them together,
>we come up with the defacto modernist philosophy that the only thing that
>counts doesn't really exist. It is for this reason, to combat the
>anti-ethical modernist philosophy that nothing (or nothingness) is
>important, that I endeavour to scientifically address the issues of
>consciousness and self. Should not 20th-century science stand for
>something more than the endeavour to prove that the achievements of
>mankind in modern science, technology, and business all add up to nothing?
>Is the crowning achievement of science in the 20th century to be the proof
>that no individual or corporate "achievment" is actually possible, because
>there is only the evolution and operation of vacuous life forms in which
>no one is at home? Are you there? I am here. Perhaps together we can
>prove, scientifically, that our "selves" do physically exist within the
>nervous system. Would that not be a fine accomplishment? (I'm not really
>asking for your answers to these questions. They are all rhetorical.)
The same day Tue, 2 Apr 1996 16:30:59 -0300, Dr. Paul Bush
<paul at phy.ucsf.edu> <paul at brubeck.ucsf.edu> signaled, regarding
previous postings of the divinity student:
|> I have already briefly stated what the statistical relationship is
>|> between multiunit axon discharge and the EEG wave.
>I missed it, please post it again. I think you are confusing the local field
>potential and the EEG. You said:
>'a statistical relationship between axon spike discharge and the slope or
>rate-of-change of the locally-generated gross potential clearly exists'
>'These researchers found a different relationship, between the probability of
>axon spike discharge and the amplitude of the extracellular gross potential'
>Both of these terms describe the local field potential, recorded close to the
>generating cells. I think it was Gauss who produced a theorem showing that
>locating the internal sources of the potential on a sphere (EEG) was an ill-posed
>problem. You claim, in essence, to have solved this problem (identified a
>statistical relationship between the spiking of the generating cells and the
>derivative/amplitude of the EEG). Please summarize your solution
>and post it here. Unless of course you don't have such a solution.
Too the same day Mark Laubach <laubach at biogfx.neuro.wfu.edu>
also wrote, on Tue, 2 Apr 1996 18:36:58 -0300:
>Could Zamanlf please state what the relationship between neuron
>discharge and the EEG is _exactly_ ?
>(and the local field potential, for that matter, which _must_ be
>understood if one already understands more global electrical activity)
>This info will be of interest to many neuroscientists.
>The researcher who has discovered such a principle (and can prove it
>through experimental investigation) would surely be on the road to the
On such injunction Zaman answered on Wed, 3 Apr 1996 14:34:53 -0300:
> Here is an exerpt from Verzeano's summary of his research found
>in The Neural Control of Behavior, edited by RE Whalen, RF Thompson,
>M Verzeano and NM Weinberger, Academic Press, 1970:
> "One of the most remarkable of these findings is the consistency
>of the relations between the first derivative of the gross response and
>the probability of neuronal discharge, in so many locations and under so
>many different conditions: in the lateral geniculate body, the primary and
>secondary visual cortex, the auditory system; in wakefulness or sleep; at
>low or high intensities of stimulation. This widespread distribution and
>this remarkable consistency, suggest that these relations are based on
>fundamental neural processes and have an important physiological
> "Another remarkable finding is that the relations between the
>first derivative of the gross response and the probability of neuronal
>discharge still hold, even when the magnitude, the configuration, or the
>polarity of the gross response change, with the displacement of the
>microelectrode through the tissue. Since the tip of a microelectrode of
>the type used in these experiments surveys a territory approximately 200
>microns in diameter, and since the same tip records both the gross waves
>and the neuronal activity from the very same territory, it may be
>concluded that the relations between the two are based in processes which
>occur locally, in the immediate vicinity of the tip, and not on processes
>which occur at large distances from one another, some at the surface of
>the tissue, some within its depth.
> "The fact that the greatest probabilities of discharge, in the
>time histograms of neuronal activity occur at progressively later times
>and decrease progressively in magnitude for spikes of progressively higher
>amplitudes..., suggests that a convergence of activity over neural
>elements of progressively increasing size and decreasing number may be
>involved in these processes; and the fact that consecutive phases of the
>gross response correspond to consecutive periods of enhanced and reduced
>neuronal activity..., suggests that a chain of successive phases of
>excitation and inhibition develop within the neuronal territory from which
>these phenomena are recorded. The data available at present do not allow
>the identification of the neural events responsible for each particular
>phase. It is evident, however, that the activity of synaptic, dendritic,
>somatic and perhaps other neural elements must participate in the
>development of this convergence and in the distribution of excitation and
>inhibition through the neuronal territory, and it is probable that the
>interactions between these activities result in relations involving rates
> "In order to understand certain physical phenomena, it is
>necessary to view them from the point of view of single particle physics,
>as well as from the point of view of statistical mechanics and quantum
>mechanics. By analogy...., in order to understand certain
>neurophysiological and psychological phenomena it is necessary to to study
>them from the point of view of the statistical aspects of multineuronal
> "The findings presented in this report give additional support to
>these concepts of nervous function, and lead to the conclusion that the
>statistical study of network dynamics should prove a valuable method of
>neurophysiological and psychological investigation."
> I would also think that Verzeano's work would be of great interest
>to many neuroscientists, and that his work (in my estimation) indeed
>deserves a Nobel prize (he retired in 1981). It was my initial perception,
>and remains so to this day, that the statistical relations he discovered,
>between the axon spike and synaptic wave activities of the central nervous
>system, is the Rosetta Stone through which the fundamental principles
>governing nervous system dynamics can be discovered.
> I talked with him briefly shortly after he retired. I do not know
>if he is still living or not. At that time he was at the following address:
>Dr. Marcel Verzeano
>265 Murphy GLC Road
>Rogue River Drive
>Ashland, Oregon 97537
>I do not know how current any of this information is. I am sure he would
>appreciate hearing from you.
It was in this situation that I (Gabriel David Noel
<Postmaster at neubio.gov.ar>) posted my last comment in that
thread, on "Electromagnetic brain waves (and Betty Martini)":
> The many silent neuronetters also keep
>track of the exchanges. We also think. Delirious
>claims are soon picked up; then allowed to pass,
>often silently. Not decidably grounded, "light" claims
>are evaluated chiefly on the honesty they transpire.
> In the unavoidable comparison between Be-
>tty Martini's and Shaman's efforts, Betty's fair-
>ness impresses me as evident. And though her
>claims are just not enough grounded as I'm used
>to, they are sufficient as to permit to initiate
>independent verifications. The student of divi-
>nity Fred Shaman, contrarily, is profiting by the
>not so extended capability of independent verifi-
>cation among a good share of neuroscientists in
>matter of basic physics. So I find proper to join
>other physicists and physicochemists, now perhaps
>tired of posting serious answers responded with
>insults and complete ignorance of the points rai-
>sed by them, in bewaring that
>(a) the claims about Faraday's "law" are nonsense.
>There is an extremely well-trodden thread about it
>in basics physics, connected with monopoles and
>magnetic currents, that received a major impulse
>in the seventies by the work of Julian Schwinger.
>The student of divinity not only is personally una-
>ble of commenting on such a thread in the appropria-
>te physics fora and tried to impress in a neurosci.
>forum (as if no physicist worked in our field); he
>pretends a major contribution on induction theory
>that must to be grounded on quantum electrodynamic
>field theory, though he gives it solely a divulga-
>tory and superficial "mathematical" portray. Any
>search on "Induction" in physics data bases shall
>yield a lot of references, even for aqueous disolu-
>(b) the historical claims are nonsense. Many proposals
>in the XIX century focused on an electromagnetic theory
>of psychogenesis. In our country the concept of the organ's
>"electromagnetic skeleton" was forwarded by Christfried
>Jakob since 1906. However in psychogenesis it is con-
>nected only with one group of processes, while others
>require other interaction modalities. The reason for
>this was even briefly mentioned to the divinity student,
>in this forum, by one of the posted responses he ignored.
>First year neuroscience students in this country are exa-
>mined on their knowledge of the brain electromagnetic
>skeleton and its architectural transients, on official
>programs, since many decades ago; and just an important
>point of their study is discriminating the operating in-
>teractions. Not only the postings of the claimant ignore
>all this (I suppose he is not plagiarizing old official
>programs of our Education Ministry, because in such a
>case he would not have so many blunders commited) but he
>dares to say that inductive action is not studied as a
>mean for info transfer in the brain. On this last, superb
>gaffe surely no comment is needed. And if this reading is
>made in my country, let me imagine what like readings are
>being performed in other countries.
>(c) the vanity expounding is nonsense. The divinity stu-
>dent compares himself with Einstein and Newton, insults
>even important colleagues that tried to help him and
>centers his effort on priority. I shall not extend myself
>on this point, but this evident, powerful motivation
>(personal vanity) is another main difference with claims
>perhaps still incompletely founded, as aspartame poisoning.
>Judging just on posted materials, motivations are discer-
>nible; Shaman's vanity discredite his work even before
>those colleagues uninterested in personally ascertaining
>the induction-theoretical issues.
>(d) the biological context is nonsense. Just now a well-
>known Argentine scientist -excuse me to provide local
>examples, but simply they are those nearer to me- is now
>lecturing in the foreign on the phyletic priority of
>ephapses over synapses, a paleontological fact found here
>on another official project - more than thirty years ago.
>Also it is often mentioned U.K. Patent 1,582,301 in re-
>gard to the architecturing of an electromagnetic skeleton
>by artificial devices; it also might be read the URSS Gov.
>document 0805-90366E, "Ustroistvo ili makhina dlya vide-
>leniya obiektivnij virajhienii iss subiektivnij opredie-
>lienii diestviushij na material" (Moskow, 1979) on these
>artificial means to do such inductive architecturing on
>the electromagnetic skeleton. And the assault in 1980 on
>a scientific institution in Buenos Aires was expressly aimed
>to interrumpt neuroscientific works in these lines as provi-
>ding biological knowledge and experimental devices condu-
>cive to the availability of non-Turing automata.
>Since the divinity student uses a warfare tactics often
>encountered in shamans, presenting himself as enviously
>rejected because of his "geniality", I found useful to
>post this public notice to avoid that his predication di-
>suades serious colleagues and students of devoting time
>to experimental and theoretical studies of induction
>effects in cellular systems, remembering that all the
>previous exchanges of this thread are e-mail retrievable
>in Bionet Waismail.
(Per omnia saecula saeculorum, I ought to have added.) I am not
interested in struggling with the shamanic proteism of this netter.
The short time to ordering all the messages I have at hand was
perhaps useful for newcomers or occasional visitors to the
forum. But IMHO we all, those who were interested in this thread,
shall harvest the best fruit if concentrating on the evaluation of what
possibilities had Verzeano's work to fulfill the role anticipated by
Zaman. If so, even against himself Zaman would have provided a
service to the neuroscience community. If not, I feel it shall be
yet instructive to our work.
Lic. Gabriel David Noel
<postmaster at neubio.gov.ar>
Institute for Advanced Study,
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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