brain galaxy
Chinese scientists have proposed a new theory that explains why humans are so much more intelligent than animals even though our brains are often much smaller than those of other species. Researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Neuroscience and Neuro-engineering have previously carried out studies backing the theory that the brain not only processes and passes on information not only through electrical and chemical signals, but also with photons of light.

Now, their latest study, the Wuhan researchers, led by professor Dai Jiapei suggested two years ago that neurons, the nerve cells in the brain that transmit information, emit extremely "lights," photons, stimulated by a chemical called glutamate and detectable only with the most sensitive equipment, but capable of transmission along brain fibers and circuits. The key finding is that human brains are able to create information-relaying photons using much less energy, enabling homo sapiens to operate more speedily and efficiently than brains of other species

The hypothesis that our brain also operates using other mechanisms --a quantum consciousness--rather than just electrical and chemical signals has been around for decades. Its supporters have included the physicist Eugene Wigner, Nobel Prize laureate in 1963 and more recently the eminent physicist Sir Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford, who has suggested that the human brain is more complex than a galaxy.

These theories include the idea that the brain transmits non-electrical particles, a form of physics which also underpins the idea of the quantum computer. But other scientists have remained sceptical, with one of their biggest concerns the absence of a physical medium in the brain through which information is transmitted.

It is still not clear, for example, how the brain carries out the transfer of information, coding and storage via photons.
Critics of the "quantum brain" theory have also questioned whether the brain is physically able to relay information through photons.

"The critical questions we are concerned with is whether any components of the nervous system ... wet and warm tissue strongly coupled to its environment - display any macroscopic quantum behaviors, such as quantum entanglement," wrote Christof Koch and Professor Klaus Hepp at the University of Zürich in an earlier study.

According to the South China Morning Post, in their latest study, Dai and his colleagues sliced tissue samples from the brains of a bullfrog, mouse, chicken, pig, monkey and human. The neurons, still alive in the culture dish, were then stimulated with glutamate and the photons recorded with specially-built sensors. They observed the spectral redshift, or the change of light waves from higher to lower energy levels. Human brain tissue showed the lowest energy photons, followed by the monkey, pig, chicken and mouse, with the frog at the highest level.

"Interestingly, we found that the chicken exhibits more redshift than the mouse, raising the question of whether chickens hold higher cognitive abilities than those of mice," the researchers wrote in their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

"It has been suggested that birds might have evolved from a certain type of dinosaur and that dinosaurs, which dominated on Earth for a long time, should hold certain advanced cognitive abilities over other animals. Based on this theory, it may be true that poultry have higher cognitive abilities than rodents, at least in language abilities, because certain birds, such as parrots, are able to imitate human words," the Wuhan team observed.

The authors said they hoped the findings would suggest a new viewpoint in understanding the mechanisms of the brain and also explain why human brains were better than those of other animals in some advanced cognitive functions, such as language, planning and problem solving.