Brain energy expenses

Gildo gildo at
Sat Aug 19 12:00:32 EST 2000

One thing is certain.  Fat people use less energy to do the same amount
of work. 

Alexandre Blais wrote:
> Dear neuroscientists,
> I am new to this newgroup. I am a molecular biologist and I  am not
> familiar with neurosciences.
> I was wondering if it is possible to measure the amount of energy
> expense (in joules) of the human brain when it is "at work"  (during the
> process of solving a hard problem, for example) compared to its energy
> expense when it is "at intelectual rest" (while watching Wheel Of
> Fortune TV show, for example :-).
> I have done some Pubmed searches, and I found that
> -the main fuel of the brain is glucose, and
> -the energy delivered to brain cells is derived from oxidative
> metabolism of glucose, glycogen breakdown, and from the tricarboxylate
> pathway
> -the main method of evaluating the metabolic activity of the brain is
> via MRI and PET using analogs of glucose
> -it is possible to evaluate the contribution of different celle types in
> the brain, and to analyze the metabolic activity of different parts of
> the brain
> -researchers notice an increase in metabolic activity following
> "stimulation" of different parts of the brain
> However, I found no papers describing and measuring the total energy
> expense of the brain during "intellectual work" per unit time. May be my
> question is naive and this type of experiment can not be attempted ?
> Just let me know .
> If someone can enlighten me on that topic, or can direct me to some
> useful resources, I would be very greateful,
> Alexandre Blais
> Centre de Recherche du CHUL
> Québec, Canada

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