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Query: Dendritic Networks

John E. Anderson jander at OSPREY.UNF.EDU
Tue Jan 30 15:57:04 EST 1996

On Tue, 30 Jan 1996, Alfie wrote:

> I recently
> read the following assertions in Jibu and Yasue (1995) "Quantum brain
> dynamics and consciousness", and I would welcome any enlightening
> comments...
> 1. "...it is known that in the central nervous system, especially in the
> cerebral cortex, the majority of neurons have no axons and cannot transmit
> neural impulses." [p.104]
> Is this referring to stellate cells?  Pyramidal cells have axons (do they
> not?), but are they really in a minority in the cortex?

To my knowledge, all _neurons_ in the cerebral cortex--stellate as well as 
pyramidal--have axons and can transmit neural impulses.  Of cortical 
neurons, pyramidal cells are the most numerous [see Braitenberg & Schuez 
(1991) _Anatomy of the Cortex_].  Glial cells, on the other hand, don't 
have axons as far as I know, and far outnumber neurons by 10-50x [see 
Kandel, Schwartz, & Jessell (1991) _Principles of Neural Science_].

> 2. "Even in mainstream cerebral physiology, the higher order process [of
> consciousness and memory] is thought to be realized by the cooperative
> activity of dendritic networks..."

Dendritic processing is certainly important, but whether consciousness 
and memory are "realized" by it, I don't know.  Maybe someone else does.

Hope this helps.


John E. Anderson, Ph.D.     
jander at unf.edu

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