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Do nuerons continuously fire?

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Fri Oct 8 20:04:29 EST 2004


On 8 Oct 2004 16:58:18 -0700, "Jake  Gold" <jake.cog at gmail.com> wrote:

>Hi guys, thanks for the responces, it clears that up :)
>
>Norman, the issue I was pondering over in regards to the time gap is
>short-short term memory. Meaning, how is the brain able to refer to
>something that happened just one minute ago, with the same thinking
>ability as long term memory, if there are no connections? I don't have
>an answer, but I thought mabye an excited area of the brain could emit
>signals continuasly through certain pathways which would enable the
>person to have some sort of 'refrence' to those brain areas since there
>are no hard-wired connections yet.

There are a number of different mechanisms that can "remember" for
relatively short periods.  These include reverberating circuits, a
closed loop of neuronal connections that stimulate each other to
maintain activity; "flip-flop" like circuits which maintain activity
in one of several possible states.  Both of these types rely on
traditional "fast" synapses and action potentials.  Then there are the
"slow" synapses which produce relatively long-lived effects through
second messenger systems.  These are quite capable of producing
effects lasting several seconds or more in synaptic strength.  There
are more complex cellular processes that can also be involved.  None
of these mechanisms involve changing "hard-wired" connections like
restructuring synaptic connections!.

There is no shortage of possible neural mechanisms.  The real problem
is to devise an experimental test to tell just which of the
possibilities is really at work!  No doubt different mechanisms are at
work at different locations for different types of "short term
memory".







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