Scientists have just discovered neurons that may be responsible for the brain s "processor timing"

Many aspects of the brain's operation are still a mystery to us, and each new discovery causes new questions and speculations.

The issue of rhythms and patterns that are excited by neurons is a fascinating field. For example, the importance of gamma waves - the phenomenon of excitation of waves in the human brain, with a frequency of about 40 hertz - is still unknown.

There are many suspicions and speculations - the most popular hypothesis is the usefulness of this wave in the "synchronization" of sensory stimuli. According to this hypothesis, thanks to gamma waves we combine phenomena into a whole - for example, we associate someone's view, words spoken by a person, smell and touch. This is called integration of sensual modalities - a phenomenon that undoubtedly occurs, but we are not sure whether gamma waves have something to do with it.

Another hypothesis regarding gamma waves is that they help us to keep attention on a particular thing - they are like a clock that watches the "conscious thread" in the brain. Of course, each of these hypotheses has one or more counter-hypotheses, presenting a different view.

The new discovery may shed more light on brain waves.

Although the research that led to the discovery of a new type of neurons was conducted in rodents, there is a chance that they can be referred to the human brain.

Researchers recently published in the journal Neuron the results of research revealing the existence of a neuron, which can be a kind of metronome or internal clock of the brain. It maintains a constant "clocking", independent of external stimuli.

Disruption of these neurons caused a slow response of the rodent to stimuli. The most interesting, however, was the effect of stimulating the neurons responsible for the cycle - this meant that the animal was able to respond faster and to smaller stimuli that it was not even able to detect in normal conditions.

One of the authors of the study, Christopher I. Moore, comments on the hypothetical effect of brain waves:

Gamma waves are the subject of scientific debate. Some respected neuroscientists consider them a magic clock that unifies the signals throughout the entire brain. In turn, other equally respected neuroscientists consider gamma waves to be a kind of smoke from the pipe exhale - a side effect of the brain that we can ignore.

Unlike gamma waves, waves induced by a newly discovered type of neurons are not affected by stimuli. They are like a metronome - they evenly measure the tempo of 40 around hertz - i.e. about 40 cycles per second. So they were baptized: metronome neurons.

The next step in the research will be to check whether these types of neurons are found in the primate brains, and in particular in the human brain.

Scientists have just discovered neurons that may be responsible for the brain's "processor timing"


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