I’m in your brain, releasing your transmitters

Jul 25, 2022Philosophy/Ethics, Tech0 comments

The mechanism of action of nerve stimulation is unknown. In view of the fact that certain pharmaceuticals act almost identically to the stimulation of certain nerves, it is possible that substances are formed under the influence of nerve stimulation, which in turn successfully effect the stimulation

Loewi 1921

Cho and John are talking about the following article: Introduction to cell signaling

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

John

So an electrochemical signal travels along the axon, that is, along the membrane of the cell itself …

Today 15:43

Cho

Right, and that then triggers chemical messengers that convey information to other cells.                    

Today 15:43

John

And this can happen in various ways too? 😊

Today 15:43

Cho

Yes, that is another form of categorization: what the target is.         

Today 15:44

John

Ok, so depending whom the cell wants to speak to, it releases different chemical compounds?

Today 15:44   

Cho

Something like that. Keep in mind that all cells communicate, not just nerve cells

Today 15:45

John

Please elaborate!

Today 15:45   

Cho

So a cell can target itself, can target its close neighbors, or can target other cells far away.
Today 15:46

Cho

we call that “autocrine”, “paracrine”, or “endocrine” signalling.            

Today 15:46

John

OK, but that’s all done with “neurotransmitters”?

Today 15:46   

Cho

Not really, no. Endocrine signalling is done by hormones                  

Today 15:47

Cho

Cells release a compound into the bloodstream which then affects cells far away, in other parts of the body.
Today 15:47

John

Oh, wow,😳 that definitely something that isn’t normally included in “neuromorphic computing

Today 15:48   

Cho

Nope, I guess not, but it definitely is “information processing” between cells.

Today 15:48

John

We might need to do an article on that sometime … but let’s focus on neurons for now.

Today 15:49   

Cho

OK, indeed the standard case in that context is go/no go based on action potentials

Today 15:50

John

Yes! And for the purposes of computation, we can safely regard those as 1s and 0s? 😊

Today 15:51   

Cho

Up to a point, because cells can excite or inhibit other cells, making it more or less likely they will fire

Today 15:52

Cho

And it more often than not is many to many communication           

Today 15:52

John

What do you mean?🤔

Today 15:53   

Cho

One cell releases neurotransmitters to multiple other cells while at the same time multiple cells affect one cell

Today 15:53

John

OK, so we definitely need to stress the holistic and network aspects😉

Today 15:53   

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