Question about brain waves

  1. OK I know brain waves are cyclic but do they use the same electrons throughout or do they switch between electrons?
  2. jcsd
  3. Also are all neurotic electrons constantly connected by electromagnetic fields?
  4. 1. Brain waves are electrochemical impulses.
    2. These "brain waves" are carried on neurons, not electrons.

    To answer your first question, thoughts are carried through different paths throughout neurons. The electric impulses may use the same neuron every now and then, but never the same pathway.

    Second question, I'm not sure.
  5. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Brain waves* are the result of electrochemical action potentials travelling down neurons in a neural network.

    *the electrical activity read by electroencephalography.

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "constantly connected"

    Action potential's travel down neurons, we have no real idea as to how thoughts (AKA subjective experience) are generated from material interactions. This is called the hard problem of consciousness.
  6. In addition, could you tell us where you read that from? Or is it something that you have thought up on your own? This would help us give a useful reply, since "neurotic electrons" doesn't make sense, and I googled that term just to be sure, but found nothing.
  7. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Obviously electrons that are distressed and need a break :tongue:
  8. OK another question, if information (like memory) is stored in neurons is the same neuron used for recalling that memory???
    ALso are the same neurons used for identical thoughts, experiences, etc.???
  9. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    We don't really know how memory is stored in the brain, whilst we know that neural networks form into patterns we don't know how these patterns create subjective experience. But we can point to some processes such as long-term potentiation and we know which areas of the brain store which types of memory but that's about it.

    As for which neurons are used for which thoughts that's an interesting question. In regions like the amygdala or the visual cortex it stands to reasons that there are fixed regions that invoke specific emotions or process certain images. However we don't know enough to suggest that when we think "apple" it is the same region all the time.
  10. If you read the wiki article you linked to on EEG's you'll see that it asserts that what an EEG picks up is not "electrochemical action potentials traveling down neurons in a neural network" but a phenomenon called "volume conduction":

    So, rather than the "travel" of signals (i.e. as along an axon), the EEG picks up the EMF of the mass "reloading" and "firing" as it were, of large populations of neurons, according to this article. "Exchanging ions with the extracellular millieu" refers to the pumping of ions from inside the neuron to the outside of the neuron, and, conversely, the sudden migration of those ions back into the inside of the neuron when it "fires". That's not the traveling signal from one neuron to the next via neurotransmitters that we think of as the operative procedure of a neural net. The EMF of volume conduction does not travel along a network but is dependent on the spatial orientation of the neurons, instead (and, interestingly, independent of direct connection between the neurons involved), and on the number of neurons taking part synchronously ("thousands or millions"). Apparently, according to the article, the neurons have to be oriented in a specific way with respect to each other for a volume conduction to reach the surface and be detected.

    The only "travel" involved, if you want to speak of travel here, is the travel of positive ions from outside the cell to the inside, and visa versa. The EEG is not picking up the travel of signals from, for example, thalamus to cortex.
  11. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Medical definition of brain wave
  12. Do you think it would be reasonable to hypothesize that repeated functions use the same neurons?
  13. Oh and does the structure of neurons ever change or is it the same???
    I know it changes in some of them but does it change in ALL of them???
  14. replise plz.
  15. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,596
    Gold Member

    That's rather nitpicky... The EEG does, indirectly, pick up the action potentials (albeit through volume conduction). The action potential doesn't refer to matter traveling down the axon, it refers to the propagation, the disturbance, so ryan is correct in saying it travels. Like a wave in the water is a transfer of energy, the water molecules don't travel along with the wave.
  16. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,596
    Gold Member

    000guy, what exactly do you have in mind when you say functions?

    There's many coding schemes among neurons, and many of them utilize several coding schemes at once, trafficking more than one flow of information (for example, a parse coder may also be a temporal coder and it may pickup the two different streams from two different pathways at it's dendrites and pass it off to two different neurons downstream. In other words, the neuron is maintaining to completely independent streams.

    Once a neuron has differentiated into a specific kind of neuron, it cannot change its type, but new neurons can grow, new connections can be lost and formed, so the network is still very plastic.
  17. Are all connections temporary or are there some permanent ones (like associatd with memory/selfawareness/etc.)
  18. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    That's what I thought, this is a previously banned crackpot. I should have checked sooner when they repeatedly made such incomprehensible posts.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?