Science

Human Brain More Active Than Previously Thought

By Rodney Rafols , Mar 10, 2017 02:09 AM EST
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A study has been made by researchers from UCLA about the brain, which could change the way people perceive it. The study has looked into dendrites, which are components of neurons. The researchers have say there is more brain activity seen than previously thought.

Neurons are the tree-like structures in the brain. They have branches which are called dendrites. It has long been theorized that dendrites are passive conduits to other neurons. The UCLA research though has found that dendrites are far from being passive conduits.

Dendrites have been found to be active in animals that move around freely. For active animals, the dendrites are sending 10 times more spikes than somas. Somas are the central bodies of neurons.

The study's senior author and UCLA neurophysicist is Mayank Mehta. He has said that dendrites make up 90 percent of a neuron's tissues. Knowing that dendrites are more active than commonly thought could then make way for new types of treatment for neurological disorders. There could even be the possibility of creating brain-like computers, he has said.

Aside from sending more short electrical bursts, dendrites also have large fluctuations in voltage being sent out. These large voltages are much bigger than the spikes. The researchers surmise that dendrites could also make analog computations, according to the UCLA Newsroom.

Mehta has further explained that dendrites can perform both digital and analog computations. In essence then, dendrites are much like analog quantum computers. With the study, it has been found that the brain can have as much as 100 times more than computational capacity than previously known, as Science Daily reports.

Jason Moore, the study's first author and a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA has said that different parts of dendrites can be active at different times. This would then allow more flexibility in learning in a single neuron. Mehta has added that more decisions are made in dendrites than within the neuron body itself.

The research has shown that dendrites are more active. More brain activity has been seen than previously thought because of this. Researchers have also found more vaping dangers in e-cigarettes.

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