Archive for June, 2015

Reality, perception, physics

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Thoughts on Reality An insubstantial pageant The one thing we can be reasonably sure of is that what we see has nothing to do with reality. Physics tells us as much as that; that there are no things and there is no colour green. Visual information is delivered to the retina by photons fluctuating at varying frequencies. The photons are either reflected from or produced by ‘objects’, which can in their turn be understood as quantum particles held together by the charges of the electromagnetic Read more […]

Mechanisms of anaesthesia

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General anaesthetic photolabels are used to find the molecular binding sites of anaesthetics, such as GABA receptors, protein kinase and tubulin. Involvement of anaesthetics with voltage-dependent channels for negative ions and the mitochondria has been demonstrated by photolabelling. At clinical concentrations anaesthetics can effect the functioning of proteins. Photolabels can attach to residues or individual molecules lining protein pockets, and thus indicate the presence of a dynamic ligand in a pocket.

Evolution of neurons

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A recent conference discussed whether neurons could have evolved twice on Earth. Neurons in the nervous systems of comb jelly fish are argued to be sufficiently unlike other neurons in nature, to suggest that neurons may have evolved multiple times. If neurons evolved more than once on Earth, there is a greater likelihood that they could evolve elsewhere in the universe.

Anaesthetics and brain energy

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Brain regions where there is an increase in functional energetic demand have a corresponding increase in glucose metabolism, their metabolic rate for oxygen and their cerebral blood flow. Cerebral energy is seen as depending on the oxidation of glucose. Cerebral blood flow similarly tracks energy consumption.

Conscious perception

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A recent study by Aaron Schurger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology suggests that for conscious perception to occur brain activity has to be stabilised for some hundreds of milliseconds. In Schurger’s study, subjects saw a red-on-green line drawing in one eye, but a green-on-red drawing in the other eye.