Share this article:
The Biology of Thought
Molecular Mechanism of Thought Revealed!
The Biology of Thought suggests a new molecular mechanism by which sensory neurons can convert external sensory stimuli into internal thoughts. The book presents an evidence-based analysis of current neurobiological concepts which leads us into some inescapable conclusions – ultimately proposing a novel molecular model for generation of thought right at the level of the neurons.
This work demonstrates how electrochemical events occurring at the neuron may interact with the molecular mechanisms to generate thoughts. In other words, the book lays out biological foundations to the generation of thought – for this reason titled, The Biology of Thought; the hitherto abstract thought is finally shown to have a solid physical origin in the neurons.
The author discusses five big questions in his book:
1. What is the fundamental unit of thought? (Chapter 4)
2. Where exactly is it generated in the neurons? (Chapters 5 & 6)
3. How is it generated? (Chapter 7)
Having answered these fundamental questions in Chapters 4 through 7, the author has formulated a working model called the molecular–grid model, and has further applied this model to answer two of the most perplexing questions in neuroscience:
4. Where is human memory stored in neurons, and in what form? (Chapter 8)
5. What is the nature of mind and consciousness? (Chapter 9 & 10)
Throughout the book the reader is engaged in a scientific discussion utilizing established neuroscience concepts to develop a new model hypothesis. As a result, this abstract thought can be tested and studied in a lab – the molecular-grid model is in fact the workbook of an experimental neuroscientist!
Key Features of the Book
- Primary thoughts are defined as the fundamental units of thought, and are shown to be generated by certain molecular gadgets located in special sensory neurons, called perceptual neurons. A stepwise analysis reveals the location of molecular gadgets in neurons (Chapter 4-6).
- These molecular gadgets are referred to as Molecular-Grids, which are proposed to be responsible for conversion of peripheral sensory stimuli into internal thoughts. Their molecular structure and mechanism of action is also examined (Chapter 7).
- Forests of similarly oriented densely packed bundles of dendrites in the layers of human cortex are termed dendritic pleats. In this model, they are proposed to form memory traces by a special mechanism which is responsible for the storage of memory for variable periods of time – thus laying physiological foundations to memory formation (Chapter 8).
- The physiological basis of vague features of human brain such as human intelligence, forgetfulness, déjà vu is established (Chapter 8). The role of synapses – both chemical and electrical – is discussed in detail which becomes relevant in the generation and storage of thoughts.
- The perplexing problem of human mind and consciousness is discussed scientifically and discussed without philosophical obfuscation (Chapter 9).
- The metaphysics of thought is addressed with a special focus on relevance of molecular-grid model to the mind-matter problem (Chapter 10).
- The molecular-grids are compared to transistors of a computer (Chapter 11).
Excerpts from Chapter 6
The author discusses the question: “Where exactly in neurons are the thoughts generated?” The most common and understandably tempting answer would be: “Why, the whole neuron!”
Refuting “The Whole Neuron Concept”
The basic approach to most problems in modern science is to essentially be reductionistic, and the field of neurobiology is no exception. The “whole neuron concept” is no longer tenable in modern neuroscience, and it is most likely that a specific mechanism for generating thought is located somewhere in the neurons to convert signals into thoughts – and now it’s our purpose here in this book to find out what it may be!
The Basic Tenet in Neuroscience – “Neurons understand only the language of electricity”: It is our fundamental understanding that all interactions between the external environment and the brain are essentially electrochemical in nature – i.e. peripheral sensory stimuli are converted into electrical signals before being transmitted electrochemically to the neurons, and it is in the neurons that these electrical signals are converted into thoughts. In other words, the sensations in whatever form – pain, touch, pressure, light, sound etc – do not reach the neurons directly, but are first transduced into electrical signals and these signals are deciphered by neurons into their respective sensations.
However, there remains no current theory in modern neuroscience of how a stimulus in the form of an electrical signal is converted into a perception or thought in the brain. Clearly, the human brain has some mechanism to do this conversion – some sort of molecular gadget must be located in the neurons to achieve this. For example, we can perceive the color blue only when we are capable of converting the color blue we receive from the external world into internal thoughts of blue color in the brain. On the other hand, we fail to perceive the ultraviolet light (or infrared rays, for that matter) because we do not possess the necessary molecular gadgets which can convert UV light wavelengths into internal signals (like bats and butterflies do). Where are these molecular gadgets located in the neurons, and how do they operate?
A neuron has several organizations: A neuron is a cell – it has all the organelles to perform its routinecellular functions, apart from executing its magnificent electrical duties. A neuron (like any other cell) has organized systems that use energy to perform its activities like respiration and metabolism, and other systems to maintain homeostasis, to look after its defense mechanisms; to grow and ramify, and to undergo cell division and multiply. Each neuron has a set of specific molecular mechanisms to deal with these tasks, and current science has a near-complete knowledge about them.
In this age of science, we know the intricate details of all the individual structures of the cell and their functional significance. We know about the functions of all cytoplasmic structures like mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, ribosomes etc. We have near-total knowledge of the complex molecular cascades that operate cellular respiration, metabolic pathways, bioenergetics, protein-building operations etc. We know of the fine details of nuclear structures and their functions – the myriad operations of DNA, RNA, translation, transcription etc.
In the same vein, a neuron also has an organized system that generates primary thoughts – and it is our enduring task here to find out what this organization is and where it is situated.
Where in the neuron? To sum up the above discussion in two points – 1) the cornerstone of neuronal crosstalk is essentially electrical – because the neurons understand only the language of electricity; and 2) different cellular organelles perform different functions – current science knows the fine details of most of these activities.
Thus it is likely that any structure in the neuron which is capable of handling the electrical signals is the structure which can lodge these molecular gadgets …
The Biology of Thought discusses this question thoroughly and arrives at a location where the molecular gadgets (called molecular-grids) are likely located in neurons.
About the Author
Krishnagopal Dharani is a medical doctor practicing in Adoni, a large town in South India. He graduated in medicine from Kurnool Medical College in Andhra Pradesh, and did his general surgery from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, South Canara. He took his post-doctoral specialization in vascular surgery at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad. He is presently holding the post of Specialist Civil Surgeon in AP Medical Services, and despite having a large surgical practice, manages to split his time between his profession and his academic pursuits in science.
Dr. KG is a critical thinker and a creative writer who perpetually investigates into the elementary issues of science, and seeking simple answers to the most complex questions that bothered mankind for ages. He is a freelance science promotional writer, and his writings were published in various science journals across India such as ScienceIndia, Amity College of Biotechnology, local magazines and others. He has varied interests in diverse fields of science ranging from biology to theoretical physics and has participated in several debates. He has done some basic research on the problem of origin of life on the earth and is at present involved in a theory of abiogenesis from primordial membranes.The author is an accomplished artist, with several paintings to his credit, and as a matter of fact, all the innovative figures in The Biology of Thought are the products of his artwork. He is a staunch social activist and a Rotarian participating in several community developmental activities concerning especially of health and education. The author can be contacted at email@example.com
The scientific study of the nervous system is entering a new golden age. Researchers and clinicians continue to advance the treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. Public initiatives like the federal Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) program in the United States, announced in April 2013, ensure that funding and resources will continue to be applied to this rapidly growing field. Elsevier’s journals, books, eBooks, online references, and tools are respected around the world for everything from physiology and pathology to behavioral genetics and nerve repair. Our publications are a gateway to the latest advancements in neuroscience research and leading-edge data for professionals, students, and academics alike.