Intelligence, firing frequency and selectivity of ion channels

First of all, it has been really interesting to learn about human brain in past few weeks. I have always been interested in intelligence. We talked briefly in class that people could be willing to enhance their IQ. The questions which raised from that discussion was that what intelligence really is? What we know already is that larger head (meaning larger cerebral cortex surface usually) correlates with IQ. However, in order to design any kind of drugs or machines we should first know deeply where the intelligence comes from. Somehow related to intelligence, I found it very fascinating to think that there are around 1015 synapses in our brain and different firing frequencies which tells us a great deal about the complexity of our brains. No wonder that it’s commonly said that human brain is the most complex system in the universe.

The other question which came from reading the book is about action potential. The maximum firing frequency is 1000 Hz and absolute refectory period is stated to be about 1ms. For my future reading I should find out how it can be so that the next action potential can be started without undershoot. One interesting thing which I founded when reading the book, “…a pore in the membrane that is highly selective to Na+ …” The question for myself is that are these channels permeable also for other ions which shouldn’t pass the channel. Furthermore, what kind of problems there might be regarding this topic. I’ll probably get an answer for this question in following chapters.

When wondering these questions, it has come clearer for me that what is the level of analysis that I’m most interested. For now, I think it might be system level.

Posted by Tomas Villikka

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