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Author Topic: What's missing in neuroscience?  (Read 1865 times)

Offline cheryl j

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What's missing in neuroscience?
« on: 07/06/2014 15:05:53 »
Years ago genetic inheritance turned out to be a molecule and not pixie dust, and the ideas of both Mendel and Dawin must have made a lot more sense, once people could see how information was stored and copied and translated into other forms with DNA.

What is the language of the brain? What allows a memory or complex idea to be stored, ignored, and then pulled up, "unfolded," or "decrypted," attended to and experienced. The qualia like experience of an idea or memory may be more fleeting and fuzzy than actual sensory experience but it there none the less.

But I'm not even asking about consciousness as much as how these things are encrypted and stored, and then decoded, if in fact that is even how it works. It's kind of shocking that this question isnt more of a burning issue.

For example look at this wikipedia article. Where is the mechanism? You must admit, this is rather vague: The process of encoding is not yet well understood, however key advances have shed light on the nature of these mechanisms. Encoding begins with any novel situation, as the brain will interact and draw conclusions from the results of this interaction. These learning experiences have been known to trigger a cascade of molecular events leading to the formation of memories.[16] These changes include the modification of neural synapses, modification of proteins, creation of new synapses, activation of gene expression and new protein synthesis. However, encoding can occur on different levels. The first step is short-term memory formation, followed by the conversion to a long-term memory, and then a long-term memory consolidation process.[17]"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encoding_%28memory%29

It almost seems ridiculous to be expected to explain consciousness if we haven't figured this out.
« Last Edit: 07/06/2014 15:38:15 by cheryl j »


 

Offline RD

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Re: What's missing in neuroscience?
« Reply #1 on: 08/06/2014 00:42:12 »
What is the language of the brain? What allows a memory or complex idea to be stored, ignored, and then pulled up, "unfolded," or "decrypted,"

They are like subroutines in a computer program that the computer user is not usually* aware of.

[ * sometimes I can immediately tell that I do know an answer, but not what the answer is, and that a subroutine in my subconscious brain is going to take a few seconds to retrieve/unpack it and tell me the answer ].

There will be a codec for long-term-memory , but it will be difficult to fathom just by looking at the compressed data, ( like trying to crack computer encryption ).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy-trace_theory#Retrieval_phenomenology
« Last Edit: 08/06/2014 00:58:10 by RD »
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: What's missing in neuroscience?
« Reply #2 on: 08/06/2014 10:29:17 »
The structure of the brain is incredibly complex and diverse - the exact wiring probably depends on the sequence that events were experienced (and then reinforced or discounted by subsequent experiences).

There is a citizen-science project called EyeWire which tackles a much simpler problem: The neural structure of the retina (the retina is effectively a forward projection of the brain). The nerve cells in the retina are structured in layers, and it seems to have a fairly similar structure between individuals.

But even then, the scope of the task is immense: There are around 150 million cone cells in the retina, which feed into another 8 layers of neurones. As of mid-2014, Eyewire with its army of over 100,000 volunteers has only managed to fully map out about 100 neurones!

There has reportedly been some progress in mapping the structure of the hippocampus at a cellular level, reporting that it consists of many repetitive modules. However, the task of analysing the hippocampus will be far more complex, because each module will relate to a different episodic memory, with unclear inputs and outputs.

In contrast, the retina is structured into modules which process inputs from adjacent rod and cone cells, which means that the inputs should be comprehensible, even if the highly compressed outputs into the optic nerve are not easily understandable.

One can't help but think that once researchers have spent the $billion or so pledged over the next 10 years, there will still be a considerable way to go in understanding the structure and functioning of the brain at the cellular and synaptic level...
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: What's missing in neuroscience?
« Reply #3 on: 08/06/2014 23:31:53 »
Doesn't it seem to you, that, something is missing in neuroscience?

Darwin and Mendel's theories accurately explained what people observed and the thoroughness of their data was their strength, But until Watson and Crick explained DNA, the logic or mechanism behind it all wasn't really clear. There is nothing yet that I have found in my reading that really explains the information coding process of the brain.

Granted, our neurological  process may not be as exact as the genetic transcription process from DNA to proteins, and my own memory of 9-11 or my 6th birthday might be fraught with errors. But something allows neurons in my brain to code and store this information when I am not thinking about it, bring it up months or years later, and despite it's fuzziness or errors, it is some how tagged as being "about 9-11" or "about my 6th birthday" and (not about gingerbread or planting tomatoes) with various related factual information or feelings about it tagged to it. What is the mechanism?

What is the coding language of the brain?
« Last Edit: 08/06/2014 23:37:53 by cheryl j »
 

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Re: What's missing in neuroscience?
« Reply #3 on: 08/06/2014 23:31:53 »

 

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