Supercomputers can beat us at chess and perform more calculations per second than the human brain. But there are other tasks our brains perform routinely that computers simply can’t match — interpreting events and situations and using imagination, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Our brains are amazingly powerful computers, using not just neurons but the connections between neurons to process and interpret information.
And then there’s consciousness, neuroscience’s giant question mark. What are the reasons for this? How does it arise from a jumbled mass of neurons and synapses? After all, this may be too complicatedbut we’re still talking about a wet bag of particles and electrical impulses.
Some scientists believe that quantum processes, including entanglement, may help us explain the brain’s awesome power, and its ability to generate consciousness. Recently, scientists at Trinity College Dublin, used a technique to test quantum gravity, Suggest this tangle It may be at work inside our brains. If their findings are confirmed, it could be a huge step towards understanding how our brain, including consciousness, works.
Quantum processes in the brain
Amazingly, we’ve seen some hints that quantum mechanisms are at work in our brains. Some of these mechanisms may help the brain process the world around it through sensory input. There are also certain analogues in our brain whose rotation changes how our bodies and brains interact. For example, xenon with a nuclear spin can have 1/2 Anesthetic properties, while xenon without rotation can not. And the Different isotopes of lithium with different cycles Altered development and parenting ability in mice.
Despite these intriguing findings, the brain is largely assumed to be a classical system.
If quantum processes were operating in the brain, it would be difficult to monitor how they work and what they do. In fact, not knowing exactly what we’re looking for makes quantum processes very difficult to find. “If the brain uses quantum computation, quantum operators may differ from operators known from atomic systems,” Christian Kerskens, a research neuroscientist at Trinity and one of the paper’s authors, told Big Think. So how can an unknown quantum system be measured, especially when we don’t have any equipment to measure the mysterious, unknown interactions?
Lessons from quantum gravity
Quantum gravity is another example in quantum physics where we don’t yet know what we’re dealing with.
There are two main areas of physics. There’s the physics of the small, microscopic world — atoms, photons, particles, and waves that interact and behave very differently from the world we see around us. Then there’s the realm of gravity, which controls the movement of planets and stars and keeps us humans stuck to Earth. Unifying these worlds under a comprehensive theory is where quantum gravity comes in – it will help scientists understand the underlying forces that govern our universe.
Because quantum gravity and quantum processes in the brain are both big unknowns, the Trinity researchers decided to use the same method other scientists have been using to try to understand quantum gravity.
Take entanglement to heart
Using magnetic resonance imaging that can sense synapses, the scientists looked to see if circulating protons in the brain could interact and synapse through an unknown medium. Similar to the search for quantum gravity, the goal was to make sense of an unknown system. The unknown system may interact with known systems such as the proton spin [within the brain]Kerskins explained. “If the unknown system is able to mediate entanglement with the known system, then it has been demonstrated that the unknown must be quantum.”
The researchers examined 40 people using magnetic resonance imaging. Then they watched what happened and linked the activity to the patient’s heartbeat.
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Heartbeat is not just a movement of an organ inside our body. Instead, the heart, like many other parts of the body, is engaged in two-way communication with the brain – each of the organs sends signals to each other. We see this when the heart reacts Various phenomena such as pain, attention and stimulation. In addition, it can be a heartbeat Linked to short-term memory and aging.
When the heart beats, it generates a signal called the heartbeat potential, or HEP. With each peak in the HEP, the researchers observed a corresponding spike in the NMR signal, which corresponds to the interactions between the proton spins. This signal may be the result of entanglement, and witnessing it may indicate that an unconventional medium is indeed present.
“HEP is an electrophysiological event, like alpha or beta waves,” Kerskens explains. “HEP is related to consciousness because it is based on cognition.” Similarly, the signal indicating entanglement was only present during conscious awareness, which was demonstrated when two subjects fell asleep during an MRI scan. When they did, that signal faded and disappeared.
Seeing entanglements in the brain may show that the brain is not classical, as previously thought, but a robust quantum system. If the results are confirmed, they could provide some indication that the brain uses quantum processes. This could begin to shed light on how our brain performs the powerful calculations it does, and how it manages consciousness.