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EM field of cell, microtubules, quantum behavior in biological systems

  1. Jul 14, 2011 #1
    The cytoskeletal structures were considered responsible for the elementary cellular intelligence in the past. (For example, see the articles from Albrecht Buehler. http://www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/FRAME.HTM.)

    Microtubules are pipe-like structures made of two kinds of proteins (alpha, beta tubulins). The protein's conformational states represent different shapes that they can assume. They give them different physical properties and their oscillations generate electromagnetic field. The proteins that attach to microtubules can give them energy, move along the microtubules and secure the information storage.

    "Role of electromagnetic field in cellular organization and interactions" by Michal Cifra is a fascinating presentation that explains the importance of mitochondria and microtubules for the production of cellular EM field, but the article does not speak about neurons. It complements the Quantum Consciousness thesis (Orch OR theory) from S. Hameroff & R. Penrose [2].

    http://www.ufe.cz/~cifra/papers/2010/Cifra-Summerschool2.pps [Broken]

    Detailed version:
    http://www.ufe.cz/~cifra/DP.pdf [Broken]

    To learn more about the physical properties of microtubules, do not miss the online lecture
    "Electronic Transport Properties of a Single Microtubule" by Anirban Bandyopadhyay,
    here: http://streaming.biocom.arizona.edu/categories/?id=143. Related articles are documented here http://www.nims.go.jp/nanophys6/Anirban Bandyopadhyay/site/index.htm.

    The computing by cellular automata is a little different in the quantum state compared with the ordinary state. The ordinary state also requires certain uniformity of the tubulin states - their coordinated oscillation, which makes the given microtubule a condensate. The rules of automata (pattern creation) differs in that the quantum superposition of states represents another possible state that goes into the pattern evolution until the cessation of the quantum coherence [5].

    The constituent proteins, tubulins, conduct electrical currents from one end of microtubule to the other spirally, and the currents show amazing quantum effects! The individual, spiral current pathways are quantum topological qubits. (See the lecture "Electronic Transport Properties of a Single Microtubule" by Anirban Bandyopadhyay http://streaming.biocom.arizona.edu/categories/?id=143)

    I am confused by the idea of isolation of microtubules. Michal Cifra claims that a microtubule is a typical coherent system that transforms the external noisy input signals (electrostatic field, IR photons, phonons) into the coherent output signal. This is similar to the functioning of a laser. Could you document this further or provide more examples? Do the external signals modulate the currents on microtubules?

    [3] http://www.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/94-09-048.pdf

    Further reading:
    Jack A. Tuszynski (Ed.) "THE EMERGING PHYSICS OF CONSCIOUSNESS" (Springer 2006)
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  3. Jul 14, 2011 #2


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    You are throwing a lot of different and wacky things together here. You would do well to read through even the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind" [Broken].

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_biology" [Broken] let alone one that suggests quantum effects beyond that found in quantum chemistry are the cause.
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  4. Jul 15, 2011 #3

    Howdy stranger. I think that you exaggerated the threat of Orch OR theory, and missed the opportunity to read all other information - experimental work regarding the microtubules. I do not think that the Orch OR is the focal point of all this research. It is just a hobby for some of the researchers.

    The "orch or" string is useful to do a search on the internet on microtubules. The authors who worked on the topic collected a lot of information in their articles, which makes them a unique treasure. Perhaps you are alluding that mentioning Hameroff gives a bad publicity to research, but I can go over that and you should do it too.

    I appreciate the link you sent (http://www.pnas.org/content/106/11/4219.full.pdf). The article seems to quote a peer reviewed article 27. Hameroff S (1998) Quantum computation in brain microtubules? The Penrose–Hameroff ‘Orch OR’ model of consciousness. Phil Trans R Soc London Ser A 356:1869–1896. I am CERTAIN that we need to take care of quoting the articles that have been checked, but my intention is to include the web links that are readable to the general public. Otherwise, I am talking about the peer reviewed articles (although not quite on the topic of Orch OR).

    Anirban Bandyopadhyay pointed out how electric current can go through a microtubule spirally without the electrical resistance as a function of temperature and current (within a certain range of conditions). The phenomenon is based on the helical potential, (which others demonstrated in spiral gold nanowires http://www.jsap.or.jp/jsapi/Pdf/Number03/CuttingEdge1.pdf, http://wwwsurf.phys.titech.ac.jp/tylab/index_e.html [Broken]).

    Among other proofs for quantum properties of whole microtubules, he showed the result of quantum interference between the currents sent from opposite ends of the same microtubule.

    So, he claims that the coherence occurs in microtubules, and that the individual trajectories of electrical currents are quantum topological qubits. Again, I do not understand what makes them isolated or not. In the next step, I'll compare them with the different types of Frohlich condensation. They seem to behave interestingly simply because they are very small objects.

    This and other proofs are cutting edge science. Please post your thoughts.
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  5. Jul 15, 2011 #4


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    I referred to Penrose and Orch-OR because Penrose is an advocate that consciousness requires a form of quantum behaviour more than ordinary effects on chemistry. This claim has no evidence, there is no data providing a solution to the hard problem of consciousness and there is no indication that quantum behaviour is involved.

    The reason I criticise is because ideas like this are crackpottery and attract a lot of pseudo-scientific discussion. I'm not an expert of quantum behaviour of microtubules however if you want to take this thread into a discussion on consciousness you are going to need some very strong evidence.

    You should stick to peer review only. Making it readable makes it far easier to be wrong or pseudo-science. That reference is to a paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, it's a low impact factor journal that changes it's discipline each issue. You should be careful when considering whether a peer-reviewed article is good as well.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  6. Jul 15, 2011 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    Unless it's hidden somewhere else on those sites, the references cover gold nanowires. These have nothing to do with microtubules (and the references don't mention microtubules).
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  7. Jul 15, 2011 #6

    I used to doubt "Quantum consciousness", because it had the word "quantum" in it, and because of the people who told me about it, whom I considered lame. I am not that interested in the new theory of mind, because the experimental work on cells is more practical. It allows me to make my own hypotheses.

    I understand that the input information in the brain requires the step-by-step interpretation. For example, the visual images first reach visual cortex V1, and then the visual data is split into copies that reach higher ranking areas of visual cortex, until it is assembled in the associative zone, Brodman area 17. If you stimulate the associative area, the result is complex imagery, but if you stimulate the V1, the result is likely to be a local defect in the visual field.

    The information by itself is time-encoded, i.e. frequency encoded with some degree of amplitude encoding due to the baseline electrical potential of cell (see http://www.med.yale.edu/neurobio/mccormick/gradednew/gradedintro.html [Broken]). The particular elements of input data that is assembled in the associative area into the knowledge of a single perceived object, are marked with synchronicity of neuronal firing in the interpretation circuits. The synchronicity marks the correlations of visual elements that belong to a single object and that should be thus associated.

    The information is not frequency encoded in the network of dendrites interconnected by gap junctions (electrical synapses). Such synapses are just protein gates that conduct electricity. The waves of charge can spread through them quickly and simply. Hameroff notices that the moment of realization at the macroscale occurs when these dendritic networks are active.

    I am not sure that we need the computing by microtubules in those dendrites. If anything, they are interesting for how they dictate the connectivity of neurons and how they play a role in memory storage.
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  8. Jul 15, 2011 #7


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