Scientists from MIT told what can be responsible

Oct

21

2018

for the development of intelligence
Despite the fact that the nervous system of humans and other mammals has already been studied quite well, how some of its aspects work is still a mystery. For example, if we compare the structure of the brain of people and our closest primates in terms of kinship, there are not so many differences. However, all this does not explain the origin of such a unique property as intelligence in humans. And, perhaps, scientists from MIT are closer to understanding what gives us this very intelligence.

New studies by experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were made possible by the fact that they were able to obtain samples of human excitatory neurons from the deepest parts of the brain of volunteers who had undergone surgery against epilepsy. Each sample was “about the size of a nail” and, according to scientists, its loss does not affect the functioning of the organ. But for scientists it is a great way to more fully explore human neurons.

The fact is that some time ago during the study of the speed of passage of signals through the processes of neurons, it was found that, in comparison with rat cells, human cells transmit these signals much faster, which led scientists to believe that the synapses and cells themselves more in-depth analysis of information (despite the fact that anatomically structures look almost identical). According to lead author of the work of Mark Harnett,

“The point is not that people are smart, because they have more neurons and a large cortex. Neurons simply behave differently. ”

Taking a sample of neurons from the brain of volunteers, the researchers immersed them in the cerebrospinal fluid so that they remained alive, and at this time they measured how the signals spread through the cells.

“These are the most thorough measurements of the physiological properties of human neurons to date,” said co-author Mark Harnett Nelson Sprouston. “These kinds of experiments are very complicated from a technical point of view, even in mice and rats, so it’s rather surprising that we succeeded in doing this successfully in humans.”

Thanks to the data obtained, we managed to find out that neurons in the human brain not only transmit signals, but also set them up by processing information. In a sense, they can be considered as transistors, as they amplify some signals, blocking others.

“In human neurons, there is more electrical compartmentation (separation of substances and processes in the cell), which allows these units to be slightly more independent, and this potentially leads to an increase in the computational capabilities of individual neurons.”

According to experts, all this means that with “the same volume”, some parts are “more productive.” This is not observed in other mammals, and this is precisely what can explain the origin of our intellect.

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