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Front Mol Neurosci. 2017 Nov 7;10:366. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00366. eCollection 2017.

Revisiting the Quantum Brain Hypothesis: Toward Quantum (Neuro)biology?

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Institute of Clinical Neuroanatomy, Neuroscience Center, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.


The nervous system is a non-linear dynamical complex system with many feedback loops. A conventional wisdom is that in the brain the quantum fluctuations are self-averaging and thus functionally negligible. However, this intuition might be misleading in the case of non-linear complex systems. Because of an extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, in complex systems the microscopic fluctuations may be amplified and thereby affect the system's behavior. In this way quantum dynamics might influence neuronal computations. Accumulating evidence in non-neuronal systems indicates that biological evolution is able to exploit quantum stochasticity. The recent rise of quantum biology as an emerging field at the border between quantum physics and the life sciences suggests that quantum events could play a non-trivial role also in neuronal cells. Direct experimental evidence for this is still missing but future research should address the possibility that quantum events contribute to an extremely high complexity, variability and computational power of neuronal dynamics.


complexity theory; criticality; neuronal avalanches; non-linear dynamics; quantum biology; quantum neurobiology

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