Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quantum model of nerve pulse II: Basic inputs of TGD based model of nerve pulse

The model of nerve pulse whose inputs are summarized below can be motivated by the observed adiabaticity of the nerve pulse and by the strange findings about ionic currents associated with the cell membrane and by the model of Danish researchers for the nerve pulse [1,2,3,4]. The model involves also a fusion of various ideas of earlier models. In particular, Josephson currents and solitons are in a key role in the model but with the necessary flexibility brought in by the hierarchy of Planck constants.

The basic inputs of the model are following.

  1. The presence of acoustic soliton or density pulse proposed by Danish researchers [3] looks plausible but a a more fundamental quantum control mechanism inducing the acoustic soliton cannot be excluded. Among other things this should explain why acoustic solitons propagate always in the same direction. In particular, one can consider a soliton like excitation (say breather for Sine-Gordon equation) associated with the electronic or ionic Josephson currents running along magnetic flux tubes. The strange effects associated with the ionic currents through the cell membrane suggest quite generally that at least weak ionic currents through normal cell membrane are non-dissipative quantal currents. The adiabaticity of the nerve pulse suggests that also strong ionic currents are quantal.

  2. Strong ionic currents generating nerve pulse through axonal membrane are absent in the resting state. The naive explanation is simple: the life time of the magnetic flux tubes connecting the axonal interior to the exterior is short or the flux tubes are altogether absent. The observation that Josephson currents in constant voltage are automatically periodic suggests a less naive explanation allowing the flux tubes to be present all the time. The presence of ionic Josephson currents predicts a small amplitude oscillation of membrane potential for which 1 kHz synchronous oscillation is a natural identification. Josephson oscillation correspond naturally to propagating soliton sequences for Sine-Gordon equation [7]. The dynamics of the simplest modes is equivalent to the rotational motion of gravitational pendulum: the oscillation of membrane potential corresponds to the variation of dΦ/dt propto V. Note that if axon is above the melting temperature, the lipid layer is in gel phase and fluid motion is impossible. The surface density of lipids is dramatically reduced at criticality so that lipid layers behave like fluids [3]. This means that tqc is not possible by the braiding of lipids.

  3. Nerve pulse is generated when the magnitude of the negative membrane potential is reduced below the critical value. Generation of the nerve pulse is like a kick to a rotating gravitational pendulum changing the sign of Ω= dΦ/dt so that rotational motion is transformed to oscillatory motion lasting for about the period of rotation. An opposite but slightly stronger kick must reduce the situation to the original one but with a slightly higher value of Ω. These kicks could correspond to voltage pulse between microtubules and inner lipid layer of cell membrane induced by the addition of small positive (negative) charge on lipid layer. This pulse would induce electronic DC Josephson current inducing the kick and thus reducing V. The exchange of scaled variants of W bosons (assignable to W MEs) could mediate the transfer of charge through the cell membrane and reduce the membrane potential below the critical value but one can consider also other mechanisms.

  4. The conservative option would be that ordinary ionic currents take care of the rest and Hogkin-Huxley model applies. This was assumed in the earliest model in which soliton sequence for Josephson current was assumed to induce nerve pulse sequence: in the recent model this assumption does not make sense. The findings of Danish researchers do not however support the conservative option [3]. Nerve pulse could be due to dark ionic (possibly supra -) currents with large hbar with a low dissipation rate. Their flow would be made possible by the presence of magnetic flux tubes connecting cell interior and exterior.

For background see that chapter Quantum Model of Nerve Pulse of "TGD and EEG".


[1] Soliton model.

[2] T. Heimburg and A. D. Jackson (2005), On soliton propagation in biomembranes and nerves, PNAS vol. 102, no. 28, p.9790-9795.

[3] T. Heimburg and A. D. Jackson (2005), On the action potential as a propagating density pulse and the role of anesthetics, arXiv : physics/0610117 [].

[4] K. Graesboll (2006), Function of Nerves-Action of Anesthetics, Gamma 143, An elementary Introduction.

[5] Physicists challenge notion of electric nerve impulses; say sound more likely.

[6] Saltation.

[7] Sine-Gordon

[8] The chapter DNA as Topological Quantum Computer of "Genes and Memes".

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