Neurons: humans v. pigs, ants and worms...

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Speakpigeon, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

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    So the function of an organisms brain is more due to the number and organization of neurons and less so due to the functional nature of the neurons found in an organisms brain themselves?
     
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  3. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    That's a good point.
    Yet, the problem perhaps is similar to atoms. Think of the fact that atoms are all made of the same basic set of particles. Yet, materials that are functionally very different can be produced using the same set of particles, and this results in the large and indeed mind-boggling diversity of nature.
    Clearly, the functional diversity of materials comes from the differences in the number and organisation of the atoms that make up the materials. However, just as clearly, the differences in the number and organisation of the atoms is made possible by the properties of the atoms which all depend on the properties of the particles they are made of. This all comes down trivially to the fact that the properties of the whole depends on the properties of its parts.
    Perhaps the major point is that there are major functional differences between materials that are broadly made of the same kind of particles but are organised differently. We can compare for example a human being alive to all the elementary particles of its body once its body has been reduced to a plasma. Same set of particles, but really very different macroscopic thing, essentially because of a different organisation. And of course, we are all dependent on this particular difference.
    EB
     
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  5. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

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    So just like how if two substances have a different elemental chemical makeup, if another two substances are made up of the same elements, but those elements are arranged differently and in different quantities, they can be functionally different?
     
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  7. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, of course. All material substances are made of the same fundamental particles and yet we observe a wide range of materials.
    EB
     
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  8. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

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    So the properties of a brain, as well as the properties of a molecule or a material, are not just determined by the fundamental constituents, neurons, in the case of a brain, or atoms, in the case of a molecule or material, but the way those parts are connected together.
     
  9. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, but we think of neurons as connected to each other, and we think of atoms not as connected but as interacting with each other. This something of a spurious distinction, but this is nonetheless the way we think of them.
    EB
     
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  10. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for the info. Atoms interact through electrons, right?
     
  11. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Just putting it out there: the membranes involved in neuron communication, are certain molecules interacting (the same way they do in all cells), and that's why there "is" a membrane, because of a spontaneous interaction; and there are much more complex molecules or enzymatic proteins, embedded in neural membranes, these "do work" actively transporting potassium and sodium ions against a potential.

    Physics is pretty much about interaction. Even a measurement involves an interaction (I haven't been able to think up an exception to that, maybe someone else knows?)

    But to the point (possibly): the physics of just one of these proteins is something we don't currently have the ability to calculate (it's a really hard computational problem), other than very approximately, and only after "nature has done" the folding part . . .
     
  12. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    Mostly, at least at brain temperature.
    I would expect some effect from the fact that most of the mass is in the protons and neutrons.
    And it is the protons that keep the electrons from going away.
    EB
     
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  13. mmatt9876 Registered Senior Member

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    Right. I believe that when a substance is heated up to a high temperature and becomes a plasma the nuclei and electrons of the atoms of the substance separate from one another. The mass of the nuclei of the atoms of a substance and the charge of the nuclei of the atoms of a substance no doubt attract atoms to one another and hold atoms to one another. There is also the weak nuclear force, if I am correct, that attracts atoms to one another and holds atoms to one another. I believe the strong nuclear force is what helps holds the nucleus of an atom together.
     

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