IUBio

Binary behaviour of some dendrites

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Sun Sep 23 21:12:23 EST 2001


On Mon, 24 Sep 2001 11:52:35 +1000, "Andrew Gyles"
<syzygium at alphalink.com.au> wrote:

>In December 2000 there was some discussion in this newsgroup of my
>hypothesis that mitochondria might act as flip-flop memory elements in
>neurons.
>
>One counter-argument ran as follows: "Why should neurons need a flip-flop
>memory element? There's no evidence they're digital".
>
>Well, perhaps there is some evidence now. In the 21 December 2000 issue of
>"Science" Dong-Sheng Wei et al report binary behaviour of some terminal
>apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons, which they characterised as
>"all-or-none responses that were subthreshold for somatic action
>potentials".
>
>They remarked that "Compartmentalized and binary behavior of
>parallel-connected terminal dendrites can greatly expand the computational
>power of a single neuron".
>
>Of course I am aware that the paper in "Science" does not support my
>hypothesis about a possible role of mitochondria, which is speculative.
>However, it does (in my inexpert opinion) show that the behaviour of some
>dendrites is "digital".
>
>Andrew Gyles
>
The correct citation is DS Wei et al., Science
293(5538):2272-2275(2001)
in the Sept. 21, 2001 issue.






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