A Hundred Billion Microcomputers in Your Head

on September 1, 2019

Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have discovered that human brain cells have very different electrical properties from those of other creatures. Both human and animal brains have six layers of tree-like nerve cells called neurons. The “branches” of the neuron “trees,” called dendrites, are what have the different properties.

Because the outer layer of nerve tissue is much thicker in humans than in animals, human dendrites need to be much longer to communicate through this tissue. Dendrites rely on sodium channels to carry electricity, but, surprisingly, the longer dendrites aren’t equipped with additional channels. In fact, electrical signals don’t travel as far along a human dendrite as they do along a rat dendrite.

At first, that sounds bad—but what makes us unique is that human dendrites have to “decide” when to boost the signal to send it farther. All those opportunities to boost signals along each dendrite equals more computing power. In other words, researchers are now saying your brain is like billions of microcomputers all working together.

Researchers are just beginning to understand all the differences between human and animal neurons and how they affect our much greater computing ability.

Animal brains testify to the incredible power and intelligence of our Designer. But the human brain is a quantum leap beyond. The more we discover, the more mind-blowing God’s creative work appears.

Article was taken from Answers magazine, March–April, 2019, 21.