Remember the old urban legend about humans only using ten percent of their brains? Like many misconceptions and pseudoscientific beliefs, that one gained some traction in the popular culture for a while and has even been attributed to Albert Einstein. However, developments in neuroimaging technology over the last few decades have shown that we actually use all parts of our brains in various capacities, even during sleep. To add to the evidence that the wholes of our brains are indeed active, some startling new research published in Science which claims the human brain could be up to ten times more active than neuroscientists previously thought.
To reach this conclusion, UCLA researchers measured the activity of dendrites, the branch-like ends of neurons which receive neuroelectrical signals from other parts of the brain and transmit them into the cell bodies neurons; essentially, dendrites are the “antennae” of brain cells. It was previously believed that dendrites were the passive conduits for the activity of neuron cell bodies, or somas, but this new research has found that the dendrites themselves actually generate much of the electrical activity that occurs among brain cells.
According to UCLA neurophysicist Mayank Mehta, this study could significantly shift our entire conception of neural activity:
Dendrites make up more than 90 percent of neural tissue. Knowing they are much more active than the soma fundamentally changes the nature of our understanding of how the brain computes information. It may pave the way for understanding and treating neurological disorders, and for developing brain-like computers.
Brain-like computers, you say? Just what the human flesh-covered sex worker robots of tomorrow need. Things are gonna get real weird real fast. Cases in point: one, we’re already on the verge of being able to create fully synthetic human beings from “scratch” without the need for human reproduction as we know it; two, roboticists have begun to create biohybrid organisms which combine robotics with organic flesh. Just think of the bizarre genetically-modified biohybrid androids that must already be hidden in deep, underground research facilities. Were researchers to give these skin jobs incredibly powerful artificial brains, we just might end up making our species redundant and irrelevant. Keep it up, UCLA neurophysics department. Keep it up.