Quantum coherence and electrical conduction in neurons
Recent research indicates that neurons may support a special type of electrical conduction, quantum vibrations and the ability to bind with anaesthetic molecules in at least three different types of location.
Anaesthesia, brain energy and consciousness
The orthodoxy of much of the 20th century, according to which neural processing did not involve significant energy usage, has been widely rejected in favour of a model, in which neural signalling accounts for 80% of energy usage. Mitochondria, the cells’ energy producing organelles, are concentrated near the synapses. Deep anaesthesia reduces energy consumption in the brain by about 50%, and in the cortex by 80-90%. The brain no longer supports consciousness at this level of energy usage, suggesting that consciousness is itself a high-energy process.
21st Century Consciousness Studies
Much of consciousness studies is dominated by philosophers dealing more with abstractions than either recent research on the brain or any underlying physics. Such philosophers have often conceived themselves as under-labourers to a 19th century Newtonian world view, while neuroscientists have been pressured in to not seeing consciousness as part of their remit.
Introduction to what is Consciousness
At 200-300 milliseconds after a stimuli unconscious processing starts to fade, but consciousness related processing continues to move towards the front of the brain. Consciousness involves a phase change in the relevant parts of the brain, with neural activity rising as much as twelve-fold, and the involvement of more massive pyramidal neurons in parts of the cortex that are thicker over the frontal and temporal areas of the brain.