emergent neuroscience

Zamanlf zamanlf at aol.com
Sat Apr 27 10:40:55 EST 1996


	I would like to conduct a short, informal survey concerning a
theory of neural “mass action” proposed some 20 years ago by
neuroscientist Walter Freeman. For anyone willing to participate, please
answer the following questions (respond either directly to my email
address--zamanlf at aol.com, or to the appropriate newsgroup thread):

(1) Are you aware of (or understand) the basic theory of neural “mass
action” proposed in 1975 by Walter J. Freeman (Mass Action in the Nervous
System, Academic Press, New York, 1975)? It is an “emergent” theory of
nervous action in which . [One of the theory’s basic postulates is briefly

(2) In your opinion, is this theory “good neuroscience”?

(3) If not, why not?

(4) Do you believe that neuroscientists generally will be able to
seriously consider a validation of this theory that is based on
electromagnetic principles, as suggested below in ELECTROMAGNETIC PARADIGM

(5) If not, why not?

(6) For those who are not aware of--or do not understand--Freeman’s theory
of neural mass action: do you think--based on a demonstration and
validation of this theory as described below in ELECTROMAGNETIC PARADIGM
FOR NEUROSCIENCE--that you would be interested in pursuing this theory.

(7) If not, why not.

Also, please indicate your background: neurophysiology,
bioelectromagnetics, psychobiology, bioengineering, etc. I will appreciate
any and all responses (flames included) I get to this survey! Freeman’s
response in particular will be greatly appreciated--in regard to questions
(4) and (5). I will publish the survey results on bionet.neuroscience.

	A revision of my previous posting on this subject
(electromagnetic/brain waves-2), which is the reason for this survey, is:


	W.J. Freeman, in “Mass Action in the Nervous System” (1975),
postulated that the “pulse probability wave” (PPW) produced by the axon
discharge of a single neuron within a mass of neurons whose dynamics is
determined by locally-dense synaptic interactions is a collective property
of the mass dynamics. A more specific, electromagnetic-based version of
Freeman’s postulate is demonstrated here. It is shown that cortical mass
dynamics causes the PPW of multiunit axon discharge generating an
intracortical electroencephalographic (EEG) wave (i.e. the extracellular
dendritic gross potential) to be correlated with the wave’s
dendritically-generated magnetoencephalographic (MEG) field. MEG
calculations show that the magnetic field lines produced by dendritic
current encircle the EEG wave peak, in a way that the MEG intensity is
related to the wave’s E-field transverse rate-of-change or “slope.” Also,
previous research on network dynamics in central sensory systems by M.
Verzeano et al. indicates that the multiunit PPW associated with an EEG
wave similarly circulates in a closed loop around the wave peak. It thus
can be deduced that the multiunit PPW producing an EEG wave is closely
correlated with--indeed actually follows the field lines of--the
dendritically-generated MEG field. A novel “magnetic current”
representation of the multiunit PPW, specified in terms of a pulse density
wave (PDW), interprets cortical mass action (PDW generation) in
electromagnetic terms. This interpretation suggests that a new term in
Faraday’s law for magnetic current, which has been found to be useful in
advanced engineering electromagnetics, will also be useful in nervous
system theory. Finally, the MEG field is interpreted as an emergent “order
parameter” for cortical mass action, which provides a novel
electromagnetic understanding of some of the nervous system’s dominant
“psychological effects.” It is concluded that the correlations established
via cortical mass action between the amplitudes and derivatives of the
intracortical EEG, MEG, and PDW, when defined in electromagnetic terms,
provide a theoretical perspective that can include both physical and
psychological aspects of the nervous system.

Fred Zaman

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