A new study from the University of California has shown that some of the neurons in our brain are working more actively than previously thought. According to scientists, their scientific work has the potential to change the understanding of how the brain works. This will lead to new treatments for neurological disease and the development of computers that think like humans.
The research was focused on dendrites. Together with the body of the neuron - the soma, they are the two main areas of the neuron that receive input impulses from other neurons. Previously, it was believed that dendrites are nothing more than conductors for transmitting impulses of electrical activity to other neurons. However, studies have shown that the dendrites themselves are very active and send out their own impulses 10 times more often than expected.
The result is completely inconsistent with existing claims that it is somatic impulses that shape our memories and imaginations.
Neuron with dendrites
The researchers also found that, in contrast to the peaks of electrical activity emanating from the soma, dendrites can generate longer signals, which collectively have more power than somatic impulses. All of this is very similar to the processes typical for analog computing.
According to one of the leaders of the research, Mayanka Mehta, since the volume of dendrites is about 100 times larger than that of catfish, it is quite possible that our brain can process information 100 times more efficiently than previously thought.