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Abstract

Research in Medical & Engineering Sciences

The Molecular Basis of Neural Memory: Part 8. Case Studies of “Neuro-mimetic” Technologies

Submission: November 15, 2018; Published: November 21, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/RMES.2018.07.000651

ISSN: 2576-8816
Volume7 Issue1

Abstract

From Cajal’s [1] original studies (~1900), neurobiologists have represented neurons as “naked”, seemingly suspended in “space”. Cajal [1] overlooked issues relevant to the emergence of the memory talent from neural nets, specifically:

1. Not recognizing the morphology of the biologic neuron as relevant to its memory function.

2. Ignoring the presence of extracellular matrix (nECM), a hydrogel web/lattice entangling the extended neuron.

3. Unawareness of non-synaptic signaling between neurons through the nECM.

4. No code for emotions.

We review 2 technologies, the IBM Brain Chip and the Blue Brain Project, both which are flawed by the same oversights.

To address these flaws, we propose a tripartite mechanism, based on the dynamic interactions of 3 compartments:

1) Neurons-including glia cells/astrocytes

2) Neural extracellular matrix (nECM), a hydrogel synthesized by, and surrounding, the neurons, which performs as a “memory material”.

3) Dopants (metals + neurotransmitters (NTs)) released into the nECM, employed by the neuron to encode cognitive information with emotive context.

Effectively, this mechanism provides a psycho-chemical explanation of the encoding of emotive neural memory.

Awareness of the nECM around neurons and a molecular code for emotions, missing in both the IBM chip and the Blue Brain simulation, could lead to better modeling of mentation processes relating to neural memory. It could also aid the development of “neuro-mimetic” devices and simulations truer to neuro-biology and neuro-chemistry.

Keywords: Mentation; Emotion; Neurotransmitters; Metal complexes

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