The mitochondrion as a flip-flop memory element in neurons

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Sat Dec 23 10:37:35 EST 2000

"Andrew Gyles" <syzygium at alphalink.com.au> wrote in message
news:9219i9$eui$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> In article <1em22oz.1ck5cit1l7pviaN%harry at dherwin.org>,
>   harry at dherwin.org (Harry Erwin, Ph. D.) wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> > --
> > 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.
> >
> 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?
> Andrew Gyles

Am I correct in believing that timing short intervals is really
a "differential comparison" question?

That is, rather than have an absolute timing sense requiring a
stopwatch, the neuron is able to detect whether cell A fired
before cell B or vice versa.

And 10 nsec seems rather a bit much.  See, for example

   Pollak GD
   Some comments on the proposed perception of phase
     and nanosecond time disparities by echolocating bats.
   J Comp Physiol [A] 1993 May;172(5):523-31

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