How the brain’s consciousness code might unlock the mysteries of cognition?
When we speak of "consciousness," we do not refer to the conscious experience of smelling a rose but rather the attributes of the preconscious processes associated with physical feelings. In other words, we seek to understand the physical processes of brain-based consciousness instead of phenomenology. Such an approach makes it possible to measure consciousness based on feelings in the raw (aka physical feelings).
In the past decade, consciousness = cognition, and the medical profession came up with a measurement of consciousness through brain scans. No activity in the cortex meant vegetative state implies no consciousness. This is a gross way of measuring consciousness from the top-down. Is it the right way? The answer from the scientific viewpoint is no. The answer from a medical viewpoint is yes.
In the 1930s, the mathematical biologist N. Rashevsky started to tinker in neurobiological questions in Chicago. In 1939, Alan Hodgkin measured a spike on the oscilloscope after penetrating a squid axon with a microelectrode. He subsequently, after WW2, developed mathematical equations describing the process and, together with Andrew Huxley, won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for their efforts.
Is this the same approach going to be the case for consciousness? The answer is yes. But the technology is not yet there. Brain neuroimaging combined with high voltage microscopes is not yet developed for visualizing quantum effects in biomolecules within whole brains. And the experimentalists will need an understanding of where to look. With consciousness, it will become more like it was in physics. The burden will be on a theory-driven revolution followed by experimental vindication. Without theoretical insight, it is hard. If there is ever the Nobel Prize, it will not be for "consciousness" discovery because heretics and philosophers have used the term recklessly over the centuries. From a biological viewpoint, what is fundamentally close to consciousness is how the brain circuitry manifests experience from the preconscious processes, especially for discovering raw feelings.
Non-Turing Computation in the Brain
Non-Turing computation in the brain aims to provide startling and decisive answers to the origins of physical feelings that neuroscientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries. This pioneering research on how specific molecules deep inside our brains form a dynamic information holarchy, linking mind and body, is not only provocative but also revolutionary, allowing the mind-body problem to be solved. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our feelings and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Non-Turing Computation in the brain empowers us to understand our feelings. Unlike classical Turing computation describing physiological feelings about how the body feels physically through the senses, physiological processes are superseded by non-Turing computation in the brain where the mind is space-time in the brain. This landmark work is full of insight and wisdom and possesses that rare power to change how we see the world and ourselves. Two theorists, a mathematical neuroscientist, and a chemical physicist joined forces to produce a mind-body paradigm called “panexperiential materialism” that dispenses with neural computationalism, behaviorism, cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral genetics. They translate the philosophical mind-body problem to a metapsychological intrinsicness problem resulting in a coherent and satisfying theory of the mind and brain.
Non-uniform conduction velocities of calcium spikes in starburst amacrine cells
The implication of the project will be to elucidate whether the first stage of cardinal direction selectivity is localized to the dendrites of retinal starburst amacrine cells based on a model where visual stimulation switches polarity excitatory input to starburst amacrine cells. The visual perception of motion is vital in the animal kingdom and plays a fundamental role in vision, and is suggested to occur principally in the dendrites of retinal ganglion cells. In the vertebrate retina, the starburst amacrine cell is directionally selective only in its calcium response to visual stimulation that moves centrifugally from the soma. Calcium source heterogeneity is believed to cause directionally selective calcium responses in starburst amacrine cells, but whether starburst amacrine cells show the first stage of cardinal direction selectivity to voltage for centrifugal motion has yet to be experimentally determined. Earlier theoretical modeling based on a co-transmission model of ACh and GABA release from starburst amacrine cells has shown directionally selective voltage responses in voltage. However, no models have yet been developed with the inclusion of Rivlin-Etzion’s experimental findings of polarity switches due to rod- and cone-mediated inputs that converge on the presynaptic cone bipolar cells. Consequently, a working hypothesis regarding the first stage of cardinal direction selectivity is localized to starburst amacrine cells.
Elucidating the neuroelectrodynamic signature of the action potential using atomic-resolution scanning microscopy
The Hodgkin–Huxley model excludes the charge density dynamics during action potential propagation in the microstructure. This experimental study bridges different temporal levels of action potential signaling and hypothesizes that the fundamental computation process in neurons can be revealed at the subcellular level. Filamentary communication is less known to the ionic signal transmission, although the two are intimately linked through time domains. We modified the dielectric resonance scanner to operate in two-time domains, milliseconds and microseconds simultaneously. We resonate the ions for imaging here rather than neutralizing them, and it images the ion flow 103 times faster than the existing methods. We revisited action potential-related events by scanning in and around the initial axon segment (AIS). Four ordered structures in the cytoskeletal filaments exchange energy long before a neuron fires, editing spike-time-gap -key to the brain’s cognition. We could stop firing above a threshold or initiate a fire by wirelessly pumping electromagnetic signals. We theoretically built AIS, whose simulated electromagnetic energy exchange matched the experiment. Thus far, the scanner could unveil uncorrelated biological events unfolding over 106 orders in the time scale simultaneously. Our experimental findings support a neuroelectrodynamical model of neuron functioning in various time domains.