Research suggests that photons synchronize brain activity

Dec. 28, 2010
Majid Rahnama at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman in Iran and colleagues suggest that neurons emit and conduct photons, which help to synchronize brain activity.

Majid Rahnama at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman in Iran and colleagues suggest that neurons emit and conduct photons, which help to synchronize brain activity.

Rahnama points out that neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules, such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores and aromatic amino acids, all of which act as conductors for photons. In particular, mitochondria, the machines inside cells that produce energy, contain several prominent chromophores.

Photons could also be absorbed by other parts of cells—such as microtubules. So Rahnama and the team hypothezise that microtubules in cells can act as waveguides, which channel light from one part of a cell to another. The team suggests that the light channeled by microtubules can help to coordinate activities in different parts of the brain. Electrical signals in the brain are synchronized over distances that cannot be easily explained. And because these electrical signals travel too slowly to do this job on their own, the team's research points to photons.

Rahnama and the rest of the team are not the first to suggest that microtubules play a central role in the functioning of the brain. Fifteen years ago, Roger Penrose suggested that consciousness is essentially a phenomenon of quantum mechanics and that microtubules were the medium in which quantum mechanics takes place.

Source: Cornell University Library

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Posted by Lee Mather

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