The mitochondrion as a flip-flop memory element in neurons

Harry Erwin harry at dherwin.org
Sun Dec 24 18:36:05 EST 2000


Theophilus Samuels <theophilus.samuels at btinternet.com> wrote:

>   I am glad that you replied to my last very short posting. The reason I
> asked was to get another perspective on an interesting 'debate' that took
> place in this NG back in September concerning how information was processed
> within the human brain.
>   The work that you mentioned deals with 'frequency coding' involving a
> binary system, and as pointed out in this thread, the timing of each AP may
> consititute to an analogue system as time would be the variable quantity
> (remember, it may only be variable to us since we are unable to understand
> it). These are the same sorts of 'already known information' that I posted
> back then and believed intuitively to be correct, or at least on the right
> track. Indeed, the only problem that was faced with this model is how could
> the temporal attributes of AP trains give rise to the phenomenon of
> consciousness, or in fact how could information be processed in this manner?
> This brings us to the AG message:
> 
> >I am not a specialist and I do not dispute what you say here. Indeed I
> >find attractive the idea that information is encoded in the exact
> >timing of the spikes. Is there any information yet on what 'reads' the
> >time intervals between spikes and 'decodes' them to give back the
> >original information to the receiving neuron (or neurons)? At the least
> >a 'stopwatch' would be needed, would it not?
> 
>   I do not know of any work that points to such a 'stopwatch' and to have
> one would be an extraordinary finding.
>   There are some interesting ideas involving complexity theory (i.e.
> involving complex systems that can exhibit 'emergent' behaviour) and chaos
> (recently, Christini and Collins of Boston University found that apparently
> random sequences of nerve impulses can be rendered periodic by pretending
> they are chaotic and applying the usual methods of chaotic control) that use
> APs and their associated timings that attempt to understand the human brain.
>   The door is open.
> 
> T.L.S.

That's right down my alley (I had some publications in complexity theory
back in the 80s), so I'll go off and do some thinking. The nice thing
about bat echolocation is that we've got excellent evidence that a
stopwatch of some sort exists, and some good ideas on how it might work.

> 
> Harry Erwin, Ph. D. <harry at dherwin.org> wrote in message
> news:1em22oz.1ck5cit1l7pviaN%harry at dherwin.org...
> > Theophilus Samuels <theophilus.samuels at btinternet.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Elaborate please.
> >
> > What about Simmons's evidence for 10-100 nanosecond resolution of range
> > in bat biosonar? The neurons involved are comparable to typical
> > mammalian neurons in their recovery times and rates of spiking. That's
> > pretty good evidence that the key cue is the exact timing of the action
> > potentials involved, not their presence or absence.
> >
> > What about Levy's work on variable timing of action potential generation
> > in the hippocampus? During replay, the neurons spike much more quickly
> > than they did during the initial exposure to the stimuli.
> >
> > >
> > > T.L.S.
> > >
> > > Harry Erwin, Ph. D. <harry at dherwin.org> wrote in message
> > > news:1em03vp.380928zetb0gN%harry at dherwin.org...
> > > > Theophilus Samuels <theophilus.samuels at btinternet.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > It's that good ol' argument about 'digital vs analogue' again.
> > > > >
> > > > > T.L.S.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > Except that I've seen some suggestive evidence.
> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:harry at dherwin.org>,
> > > > Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Sunderland,
> > > > Computational Neuroscientist (modeling bat behavior) and
> > > > Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer.
> >
> >
> > --
> > Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:harry at dherwin.org>,
> > Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Sunderland,
> > Computational Neuroscientist (modeling bat behavior) and
> > Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer.


-- 
Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:harry at dherwin.org>, 
Senior Lecturer in Computing at the University of Sunderland, 
Computational Neuroscientist (modeling bat behavior) and 
Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer. 






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