An international team of scientists has discovered in the tissues of the human brain a previously unknown way of exchanging data between cells. The research results are published in the journal Science.
Neuroscientists have discovered a new way of transmitting data in the outer cortical cells of the brain. We are talking about a special “graduated” signal that transmits to some neurons a different method of performing their functions. It has not previously been observed in the human brain.
A new study has shown that the human brain has much more computing power than scientists previously believed.
During experiments to study the electrical activity of tissue fragments removed by surgery in people with epilepsy, specialists using fluorescence microscopy discovered that some cells of the cerebral cortex can use not only sodium ions, but also calcium. Its positively charged ions produced voltage waves that scientists had never recorded before. Scientists have named the new mechanism calcium-mediated dendrite action potentials, or dCaAP (calcium-mediated dendrite action potentials).
Dendrites are a branched outgrowth of a neuron that receives information through chemical (or electrical) synapses from axons (or dendrites and soma) of other neurons and transmits it through an electrical signal to the body of the neuron (perikarion), from which it grows.
To confirm that the results were not unique to people with epilepsy, they confirmed the results with a small number of samples taken from brain tumors.
Now scientists are preparing to continue studying the discovered mechanism already in a living organism. Also, experts will have to find out whether a similar phenomenon is typical only for humans, or similar processes occur in the brain of other living beings.