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Interesting physics and biology hypotheses

Interesting physics and biology hypotheses - Physics Forum

Interesting physics and biology hypotheses - Physics Forum. Discuss and ask physics questions, kinematics and other physics problems.


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Old 09-21-2011, 06:09 AM
Pipette Filler
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Default Interesting physics and biology hypotheses



I apologize if I am coming off the wrong way. Please forgive me if I am not following the appropriate protocol on these forums. I honestly appreciate your contribution and your time. Here is more information for those who have not read the original source of the work.

“By most accounts, the mind is assumed to correlate with the integrated activity of large populations of neurons distributed across multiple cortical and subcortical brain regions. Nonlinear dynamic mechanisms are then invoked to provide for the "binding" of the dispersed neuronal activity into a unified stream of consciousness. By this view, activity within any single neuron correlates with merely a fragment of the total conscious experience; it is only through the integration of these fragments that a single whole-brain consciousness is assumed to emerge. The most immediate implication of the single-neuron theory is that it provides a novel way of tackling the “binding problem,” the problem of accounting for the apparent unity of conscious experience.”
Steven Sevush, University of Miami

The single-cell-mind hypothesis suggests one cell in each human is central to “mind” and specifically a gene in a specific chromosome in that cell. This cell is responsible for “binding” to form a single-unified-mind. Various sections in the human brain bind the activity of different large populations of living cells with DNA. Think of the chain of command in a military. At the top of the chain of command, in a human brain, there is only a single-unified-mind cell. This single-unified-mind cell binds the result, of the other binding in the brain, to give humans, what some prestigious scientists define as, a mind. If you destroy this unified-mind cell in a human, then you unbind and kill the mind for the human. Without a unified-mind, a human will gradually decompose.

A less-evolved multi-cellular organism may not have a single-unified-mind, but instead could have a couple minds, each in a different cell and each the mind for a vital group of cells in the organism. Killing any of these mind cells will result in the death of a multi-cellular organism. The difference between humans and other less-evolved multi-cellular organisms is the layers of binding. Less-evolved multi-cellular organisms do not perform enough binding to have a unified-human-mind.

Taken further, each living cell, with DNA, in each human has a primitive form of a bound mind. This primitive mind experiences, what some prestigious scholars define as, feelings. However, living cells, with DNA, likely perceive their form of feelings different from how a human-mind cell perceives feelings. Living cells, with DNA, living in a human, contribute to the overall consciousness of the human mind, but only a single-mind cell, in the brain, binds the second to final version of this overall consciousness into a unified-human-mind.

If this hypothesis is valid, then every multi-cellular organism must have one or a few of these mind cells. Each mind cell is vital to the survival of the multi-cellular organism. Each mind cell is responsible for binding the feelings of specific other living cells with DNA. If one of these mind cells die, then the living cells, with DNA, this mind cell was responsible for binding, will gradually, decompose. The effect is a chain reaction resulting in the death of the multi-cellular organism.

To test this hypothesis we need an organism in which the genes in a single-cell can be identified out of all the cells in the organism's body, and ideally one in which it is the same cell in each individual. The first point suggests an organism very small and simple, the second point suggests an organism whose cells have a specific cell lineage, so we can tell exactly where each cell in the adult came from. Caenorhabditis elegans fits both criteria. It is also very well studied and many-grouped DNA do the genetic manipulations required.

Experiment 1) Determine if one chromosome from the parent DNA strands, from the egg, always survives in a neuron. This can be done by growing a generation in a medium that labels the DNA, then hatching eggs in a medium that does not contain the label. Only DNA deriving from the egg DNA will therefore be labeled. There is a caveat to this. Some of the cells in all organisms die before the organism reaches adulthood, and the DNA in them is broken down and the bits used to make new DNA in other cells. Any label in the DNA will be distributed to that new DNA. So this is not a completely black-and-white experiment. It is recommended to use tritiated thymidine as a label. Putting in enough bromodeoxyuridine to detect at the single-cell level could perturb the cell's metabolism, and so invalidate the results. So label a generation of cells with high specificity tritiated T, collect eggs, germinate and grow in an unlabelled medium. When adult, kill them, fix and slice them, and do autoradiography to see where the chromosomes end up. If the hypothesis is correct, one specific chromosome will always end up in a neuron.

Experiment 2) You have now identified a chromosome and a neuron. The next bit is much harder and you will need a serious c. elegans geneticist to make it work. Conceptually, though, this is what you do. You make a construct that is under the control of a cell-specific promoter for the cell you want to target, and a tet repressor system, with a DNAse open reading frame downstream. In the adult, induction with tetracycline should induce the construct in that one cell only, make DNAse within the cell, and blow the cell's DNA away. As a control, you make the same construct specific for a couple of other neurons. With luck, removing the DNA will not kill the cell outright, although the cell will die after a while because it will no longer be able to repair itself. As a further control, you could induce apoptosis in that cell and in the other, control cells, killing them entirely. The hypothesis says that removing the DNA from that one critical cell will radically alter the organism's behavior and even survival. Destroying the DNA in other cells will have a much less profound effect. Killing the whole cell will have no worse an effect, whereas killing other cells will have a worse effect, thus:

Where '1' is 'hardly notice it' and '10' is 'catastrophic result.'

-------------------‘Mind cell’-------Other nerve cell----Other nerve cell 2
Chop up DNA---------10------------------3-------------------1
Kill whole cell---------10------------------5-------------------2

“Here is a citation relevant to the "C. elegans" part of the hypothesis:”
“Halfway along each posterior excretory canal is a small cell, probably secretory in function, that sends processes anteriorly and posteriorly along the canal: Laser ablation of these cells in young L1's has an unexpectedly dramatic effect: the animals take on a starved appearance, and die before becoming adult. Although the excretory canals are interrupted at the site of ablation, and consequently their posterior sections disappear, they can be seen to regenerate in the course of the next 24 hours. In any case, it is known that individuals in which the excretory system has been destroyed are capable of becoming adults (Singh and Sulston, Nematologica, 24, 63-71,1978). Similarly, the other adjacent cells (V3, P5\/6, hsn) can be ablated without killing the animal. Therefore, it appears that the canal associated cells are essential to the survival of C. elegans. The mutant vab-87 (E1017) matures into an adult whose anterior half appears normal but whose posterior half is thin, pale and uncoordinated. Nomarski examination shows that all the tissues of the posterior half look starved\; the canal associated cells are displaced into the head, and sometimes one of them seems to be missing. These cells are difficult to distinguish from neurons in L1's, but in older larvae they enlarge and can be recognized. One animal was found whose posterior half was of normal size\; subsequent Nomarski examination showed that one of the canal associated cells was in the wild type position. Although various other cells are displaced in E1017, these observations suggest that its principal character results from the abnormal position of the canal associated cells.”
Cori Bargmann, Rockefeller University

Of course, these experiments can also be performed in drosophila, and that would be a more validated approach toward studying the fate of DNA in a multi-cellular organism, and drosophila geneticists have a catalogue of behavioral studies performed after manipulation of genes. Drosophila is a better model for man than c. elegans, but as a start c. elegans are simple, small and inexpensive.

At least one chromosome from a c. elegan zygote is the “mind DNA”. This DNA ends up in a nerve cell. One could test this by doing combined anti-BrdU staining and chromosome-specific FISH on the worms. The former would tell you whether a cell had “parental DNA”, the latter which chromosome that DNA was in (if you could get high enough resolution in the technique). To get the resolution needed (to be able to see if the “FISH” probe that said “this is chromosome 2” was in the same place as the BrdU that said “this is sperm DNA”) you would have to do it on fixed, sliced worms. It would be a heroic experiment, but the result would be like this:

Chromosome number (just 4 for convenience)
----------------1--------------2--------------3---------------4
worm 1----nerve cell 17----nerve cell 2----skin cell 7------muscle cell 7
worm 2----kidney cell 31---nerve cell 4----muscle cell 8---gut cell 12
worm 3----muscle cell 6----nerve cell 3----nerve cell 9----gut cell 1

This would suggest that the DNA in chromosome 2 always ended up in a nerve cell. Of course, unless it was the same nerve cell each time, you could not then zap it with DNAse. There might be a way round this, but it would depend on the result.

The conservation of feelings hypothesis is far more complex and requires several pages to explain. The reason why several pages are necessary is because of term definition. However, Antonio Damasio.'s definitions of emotions and feelings are congruent with the definitions used to explain the conservation of feelings hypothesis.

Damasio: The distinction between emotion and feeling is very important because most of the time we confuse the two. Most of the time if you analyze your language, and I analyze mine, because I think I am better now but I used to do the same thing. You very often talk about emotion but you mean feeling or vice versa. So I am not trying to be pedantic and tell you that your using language incorrectly, although most of the time we are. But let me tell you what the concepts are and these are research concepts. And I think they are very valuable to orient research. So an emotion is really about action. The best definition I can produce for you of emotions today, and this is based on our understanding of the problem. Is that it (emotions) is a collection of automated actions that are aimed at a particular effect that will have importance for the regulation of life. That automated package of actions, you can call it an actions program, is something that has been installed in your brain at birth, obviously under the influence of a genome with the enormous effect of many millions of years of evolution and is going to serve as like a little packet of rapid intelligence to make you solve a problem without you having to think about it. So for example if there was some cause of alarm and we would be under threat in this room, you know perfectly well what you would have, you would have a reaction to fear and you would act on it. Typical reactions of fear include freezing in place or running away from the source of threat, but whatever they are or whatever the program is, that is engaged, it is going to be a program of actions. Some of the actions are very visible, for example in the face being in terror, you have a posture that is of fear, but then there are other things that happen, you have your heart rate that goes up, and you have blood pressure that goes up, and you have your hypothalamus spritzing cortisol into your entire organism. And therefore changing your whole aspect of the economy of the interior of the organism. All of these are actions. Some are at the level of the endocrine system, some are at the level of the muscular skeletal system, some are at the level of the visra, and some are at the level of behavior we engage in. Like I said, freezing or running away from the source. All of this exists in many species, not just in humans, in fact most non human species, for example when you think about birds or you think about mammals they have these reactions, in fact you can go all the way to invertebrates and find examples of exactly the same thing. You can have a snail have a reaction to fear that is similar to all of this. We know perfectly well that the snail does not have a brain besides a very organized group of neurons, the snail is unlikely to have a mind, let alone consciousness, let alone a sense of the culture. So obviously what we are dealing with is something that is evolutionary biological intelligence that is prepared to make an organism do the best it can without having to think about it that much. Now we have this program in us, and we have it not just for fear, but we have it for sadness, anger, for joy, we have it also for a variety of emotions, that we call social emotions. For example embarrassment, shame, contempt, compassion, admiration, pride, and guilt. All of these exist as prepackaged arrangements in the biology of your brain. What we then also have is this marvelous thing, because we have a mind. And on top of it we have a mind that is consciousness because we have a sense of self. We also have the possibility of having a perceptual take of what is happening in us. So when you have a feeling of fear what that means is that your mind is representing what has changed in your organism while you are in the emotion of fear. And it is also because in humans things are very complex. We also have a number of thoughts and scenarios that you bring up and a number of cognitive strategies that you can engage. But the feeling part is sort of the capping of the process and it is something that exists in us, but it does not necessarily exist in very low species.

David Brooks: Just to make sure I understand this, if I am driving down the road, a car is coming at me, I swerve, I slam on the breaks. My heart is palpitating, I feel breath coming in and out, And it is usually after I am sitting on the side of the road, that suddenly this conscious sense of fear comes over. That comes later. So it’s a two stage.

Damasio: It is a two stage. It is very good that all of this gets engaged without you having much control over it because if you did. If you were really pondering, what should I do? You probably would react in a much more slow fashion and of course there will be a cost to that. The reaction is really happening largely at a non-conscious level although it can very rapidly become conscious as well. The distinction between emotion and feelings are so important because emotion by definition to begin with is non-consciousness. It was non-consciousness throughout evolution and it is still by and large non-consciousness and we learn about it through feeling. It is when we feel the emotion that we know that we had it. Feeling is sort of the sea level that goes from this end of the water operation. Which is this very rich operation of the non-conscious brain and the operation that suddenly emerges into consciousness.

A semi-explanation of the conservation of feelings hypothesis is (conservation laws apply to what Damasio defines as feelings). The conservation of feelings hypothesis appears to be similar to the conservation of electrical charge. The conservation of feelings hypothesis is the statement of universal conservation of feelings. Similar to electrical charge, feeling has a “reservoir”. This reservoir upholds the conservation of feelings hypothesis. This explanation doesn't do the conservation of feelings hypothesis justice, but I don't think it would be effective to copy and paste 15 pages from the book on these forums.

You can read the original source for these hypotheses on Scribd for free, in non-flash format, without having to go to ofgrandeur.com. All you have to do is Google (Scribd ofgrandeur) and it is the first link.

I will try to answer your questions to the best of my abilities, but reading the original source could answer your questions faster. Thank you for your time.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:09 AM
Pipette Filler
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Default Re: Interesting physics and biology hypotheses

TKS!!! Steven Sevush, University of Miami
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