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Sci Rep. 2016 Nov 7;6:36508. doi: 10.1038/srep36508.

Possible existence of optical communication channels in the brain.

Author information

1
Institute for Quantum Science and Technology and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Calgary T2N 1N4, Alberta, Canada.
2
Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton T6G 1Z2, Alberta, Canada.
3
Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton T6G 2E1, Alberta, Canada.
4
National Institute for Nanotechnology, Edmonton T6G 2M9, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

Given that many fundamental questions in neuroscience are still open, it seems pertinent to explore whether the brain might use other physical modalities than the ones that have been discovered so far. In particular it is well established that neurons can emit photons, which prompts the question whether these biophotons could serve as signals between neurons, in addition to the well-known electro-chemical signals. For such communication to be targeted, the photons would need to travel in waveguides. Here we show, based on detailed theoretical modeling, that myelinated axons could serve as photonic waveguides, taking into account realistic optical imperfections. We propose experiments, both in vivo and in vitro, to test our hypothesis. We discuss the implications of our results, including the question whether photons could mediate long-range quantum entanglement in the brain.

PMID:
27819310
PMCID:
PMC5098150
DOI:
10.1038/srep36508
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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