Friday, 24 December 2010

This is not an EM mind theory.... ITS STRUCTURALISM !

Central to this integrative neuroscience project the brain structures are proposed to be electromagnetic in form. And the proposal here is that intelligence has a definitive physics based form, so it might be thought this is the mother of all EM mind theories. But paradoxically this approach is not currently aiming for an EM mind theory. This post will try and explain how such a paradox could be.

Of course with something like a cortex dipole structure, it is important to be open minded to some types of magnetic brain model for various interesting concepts and developmental mechanisms, so I do mention various respected authors on this site. But for now its important just to define the physical system, and always ask if conventional concepts can fill in the rest. Overall I stick with traditional approaches and do not get into quantum mind theories. For the following reasons.

The concept of quantum mind is over-rated and takes us off track. It has been popular because theorists were fusing “cool” topics like Einstein and Darwin, and many academics wanted to be the first to claim this territory. And for others it has been the “soul” or escaping into the mysticism of quantum physics. But what structure of computation would a quantum mind even bring anyway ? Surprisingly many EM mind theories don’t even explore or formalize this basic aspect ! Now that we are actually building quantum computers its a a lot clearer what that would be.

What quantum computation really brings us, is dense matrix connectivity, something we already simulate with digital matrix systems. Which is why the Dwave had to scale up its system to prove its advantage over digital.

Findings of the entire set of Quantum properties in classical fluids that show us fluid dynamics can solve quantum weirdness in terms of pilot waves. So it appears like wave/particle could be unraveled and there may be no quantum/classical divide after all. You would think this would be interesting, but there is often a blanket denial of this information when raised in a discussion. Such denial serves to illustrate there is more of an attraction to the mysticism of the quantum ideas rather than a desire to get to the substance of solving the problem. i.e. What is wave particle duality really about ?

Yves couder in his fluid dynamics lab in CNRS Paris. His team have created the quantum phenomena by slow motion filming the motion of fluid droplets after they are oscillated. We uncover the same patterns for entanglement, and many other quantum phenomena. These accord with De Broglies Pilot wave concept. Put simply the waves guide the particle, so they are bound together.

Its important to point out what an EM mind theory is. For example the traditional neuron is defined by a combination of EM fluid equations, but the computation is still defined by traditional logic. Although even that is contested in neuroscience, however most neuroscientists do not subscribe to a full EM mind theory which would be a quantum mind theory, popularized to an extreme by Stuart hameroff. He proposed most neurons operate together and compute via EM fields orchestrated across the brain via the inner neuron structure (microtubules). The concept raised many interesting issues but did not survive scientific testing and was weakened by the arrival of more complete brain mapping projects. We now have new information such as that of dendritic computation, which places the logical process of neurons in the dendritic webs.

Where we now are sure computation emerges. From dendrites (1) to population burst patterns (2) to entire brain regions locked together in phases (3). We could represent these phase locks to have similar patterns as the quantum interference patterns, but we know they are classical patterns. So the same phenomena can emerge by different means.

What is important to bear in mind about the dipole cortex concept is that it does not seek to replace or do away with current neuroscience. Its more of an integrative approach to piece the brain together into a larger picture. For example although it proposes an EM structure for the brain, its not real time EM action like a quantum mind. A quantum mind theory would propose magnitudes faster neural processing than the millisecond of the action potential.

In biology there are many interacting levels and different types of physical principles. Physics in coded and controlled by biology, so a biophysics of brain structure needs to represent all these (and more) different levels within the same picture. In the brain structure the radial glia which produce the magnetic fields pulse these fields when migration is required. Then stop while other genetic or biophysical processes are in operation. So like conventional neuroscience, the solution will not be simple concepts such as a prevailing magnetic field model for the brain.

In neurons electromagnetic fluids are recruited and controlled by genetics, to the point that every aspect of how physical principles operate is slowed down in time, so they can work together within the limiting frameworks of how they are built, maintained and can reproduce their functions. All this becomes so complicated that the action potential cannot transfer into the speed of a pure electromagnetic field as it has far too many sub aspects inside to build, produce and maintain it. All the same applies to the proposal presented here for the brains EM structure, so it is entirely consistent with current neuroscience

This is just some of the complexity at the synapse in terms of protein signalling, and represents only a fraction of the aspects shown. For example if we were to fill in everything we know about the membrane it could not fit on this graphic. Same for the electrophysiology, genetics, neuroimmunity, Glial cells, Plasticity, Signal responses and much more.

More specific problems with quantum or even magnetic mind theory

I have to remain open minded, but so far there does not yet appear as if there is any "real time" EM role in actual adult processing. At least nothing that could threaten current models. So for computation this project develops with traditional neuron/structure approaches, and then considers as an adjunct any EM aspects mainstream (not fringe) neuroscience has found. For example it is already accepted in science that magnetic structures have a variety of computational properties so from that we can consider what could a magnetic field contribute to information processing when it assists in and is integrated into the development of complex computational structures.

Magnetic principles do not really scale up it appears. If they are coherent in development due to radial glia (which dissolves early in development) then this means loss of this means for a widescale magnetic mechanism in the adult brain.

The first problem is that we are not sure if there is any large scale field in the brain that arises from individual magnetic domains, because MEG readings are taken at the population level, and the equipment to measure individual axons while still active in the larger field is only just being developed.

The second problem is the magnetic mechanism (radial glia Ca2+ in connexins) mostly fades after cortical development and leaves the glial system. So for this approach proposed here, I don’t have a mechanism for the developed brain. At least not in the scale required to fit the concept of a magnetic multipole system.

The third problem is neurons are operating at sub-electromagnetic speed. They are evolved for the millisecond range. And why would brain networks even require such a field, when there is already all the connective machinery in place anyway ? Its already explained well enough. The outstanding questions in neuroscience (like how coding works) are not illuminated by current QM mind theories.

The biggest problem for EM mind ideas is the emergence of most ordered complexity at the microscale, and the way in which biology controls/encapsulates/integrates many difference principles of physics

And more ! see this for criticism of quantum mind concepts

If there is no EM mind theory, then why would there be an EM structure ?

The ideas presented here are more guiding concepts to understand organizing principles in neurodevelopment. Currently this project is not looking to extract from these concepts any computing with continuous EM coherence or magnetic organizing effects at the atomic scale. All we need to derive is the overall structure of computation that EM fields might leave in their imprint. But still remain partly open to the possibility of some EM aspects we don’t know off.

Some brief examples of how electromagnetism can assist in the development of good computing structures.  Magnetic fields can assist the coding of genetics to ensure microtubules fall in line with a soliton axon model, and these are all bundled in a neat linear manner suitable for good volume synchronized coherence of information transmission.  This property is called flux, or magnetic ropes. Magnetic clustering (right in diagram)  is actually used as an algorithmic method for sorting information in computer science. The magnetic ordering induces very good hierarchical structures. 

So in the actual cortical structure it is proposed that the structure provided by magnetic fields to the cortical asymmetry, would provide impart different types of tree structures that when filled with neurons have good structural properties for feature extraction. Magnetic fields are a very useful tool for nature to get cheap and controllable computing power which scales up well to increasing complexity. Neurons evolved first, then brain structures evolved to use magnetic fields to order increasing amounts of neurons with some very good structural computational properties.

However with our current knowledge it can also be proposed that even if EM fields stop in development, they will have imparted a computing structure which leaves an imprint of the essence of general computational properties. This “essence” evolved to integrate nicely with being filled by the brute force numbers of neuron sub-components. So nicely all that has to happen is the structure develops/crams as many neurons into the computing structure, then only has to prune these out or form some more later in limited numbers.

The process of how to build a structure can be itself tied into how the structure itself operates. The physical constraints of the building process if self evolving (rather than designed) would naturally ensure this takes place

What general computational properties or “essence” would these EM fields be ? This is another part of the project in itself, but it would basically be a simple dual process computational system which arises from fundamental physical properties. Most AGi theories (with good test results) are dual process theories and can be reduced to dual processes in physics. Googles Deepmind (the Atari beater) is basically dual processes of action-perception.

Googles Deepmind system is based on a simple dual process computing. They use Deep-reenforcement.  Dual process underlies even human cognition (see wiki summary here). If dual process underlies cognition it is reflected in brain structures (see wiki summary here). I have written an unfinished AGi paper (2012) which  used dipole neurology and dual process principles to predict what Deepmind would require, even before it was built !(see here). My later 2014 paper is actually a dual process AGi concept, but applied primarily to physics and neuroscience.

The basic concepts behind Googles Deepmind general learning can be expressed in a few elegant equations based on universal induction, and these can in turn be expressed in fundamental physics. But if you provide these equations life by dressing their operational structure with a larger brute force numbers of computational elements, they will in principle become complex general learners, even if the computational elements vary a lot. See wolframs principle of computational equivalence for more on this. Or simpler put, the structure of a mechanical machine can still operate when made out of many different types of elements.

Stephen wolfram filmed explain the principle of computational equivalence (see video here).  This principle is based on a large project which used computers to layout the landscape of proof systems (entire book here).  At this stage its an idea not to take his approach as proven for the landscape of all complexity, but it is interesting for the more well defined system of the brain.


Because quantum computers do compute, It was always important to be open minded there could be EM effects. I have done so in this project and gathered the best I can find together. Those remain part of the project. And the concepts from this project, such as feature extraction resulting from converging/diverging networks derived from magnetic poles is an EM derived computation. But if there is no real time EM field, then its also a classical computation. It is also very important to ask what quantum computers do to information physically and can this occur by other means. Or is there even an EM/classical divide after all ? I think there are probably many ways to produce similar dual process types of computation at different levels of complexity. EM fields evolved as they enable a simple and cheap way for nature to get us a good dual process computing structure that we can shoehorn computational elements into via chemotaxis (neuron guidance).

So this is why this is not an EM mind theory as currently known. It is more suspected the actual highest level computing scheme to be derived for the brain will be an adjunct framework which is consistent with current neuron population models or biophysics concepts such as walter freemans mass action. The computing derivation is still a work in progress, and that is why I publish on AGi. To compare how universal computing matches with neuroscience. My 2014 paper started from basic thermodynamics (as a foundation). A recent post here outlines some broad themes in the meanwhile.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Easy read poster of the theory

>>>> AUTHORS NOTE: This section is still a bit of a mess .<<<<<


This website summarizes the progress of controversial "Dipole Neurology" theory (summarized here) which has exceeded my original expectations by developing from a spare time academic project (in neuropsychology) and has now moved into the search for a common physical pattern/topology for intelligence/consciousness (starting from the mammalian brain).  It is also developmental biology with accruing evidence backing up the basic concept. If basic becomes robustly proven,  I expect  this to become a strong contender in the top 10 of integrative neuroscience theories. 

The idea is controversial more by its scope and freshness, rather than proposing any quantum mind theory. The concept is proposing that the brain has a simple overarching structural framework (entire corticolimbic system) which is itself of a simple physical/computational form. This structural form is not the hodge podge of evolution neuroscience currently thinks, and is coherent enough to actually drive how the small scale computational elements (neurons/axons) etc end up filling up the large scale form for the overall highest level computation. The Cortical Dipole structure itself is proposed to enable feature extraction, as this works by brute force elements (neurons) operating through dipole laterality in a conceptually simple but well connected topology.  This structure arises in neurodevelopment to assist in guidance mechanics and is partly MHD (magnetohydrodynamic) in origin. From the neurodevelopment angle this concept is improving with new evidence from labs out there every year.

I have to remain open minded, but so far there does not yet appear as if there is any "real time" EM (electromagnetic) role in actual adult processing. At least nothing that could threaten current models. So for computation this project develops with traditional neuron/structure approaches, and then considers as an adjunct any EM aspects mainstream (not fringe) neuroscience has found. For example it is already accepted in science that magnetic structures have a variety of computational properties so from that we can consider what could a magnetic field contribute to information processing when it assists in and is integrated into the development of complex computational structures. 

This physics is important, because if computation is simple EM/thermodynamic both within and throughout the entire brains physical encapsulation then if true, this is a massive theory for neuroscience. But as i repeatedly will state, I don't actually explore the EM side too much in this project. The real controversy of this work is that it challenges the current idea that no topdown structural computational properties should be derived from physics and clearly assigned in general to the cortex or limbic system at the actual full structural level.

If that were not enough, this concept produces an inescapable finding or presumption (to be falsified). This is that if intelligence/consciousness comes from simple physics and gives rise to this specific type of dual process thermodynamic/EM physical structure I propose the brain has, then by logical conclusion this structure might be roughly applicable to the successful operation of most general learning systems where our laws of physics apply. So If this project continues as it has, it is moving to being able to make future testable predictions for the viability of Artificial General Intelligence (AGi) systems. That is whether AGi will have to possess something like a brainlike physical form as their complexity increases. Primarily due to constraints by the laws of physics.

Many science futurists predict that from 30 years from now, most primary technologies and later down the line, the core of most life itself will be reliant on complete AGi and mind understanding. My approach also provides a pioneers view of the brain which gives many original ideas. So its pretty exciting to be able to explore and lead these pioneering areas at such an early stage. Its also for this reason I had to become independent, but I kind of enjoy being a maverick now anyway :) I guess the only big question for newcomers here, is whether the cortex has dipole structure. Well first ask "what else could it be ?"

Check this beginners video for a quick visual intro, or open the poster further down

For this project I usually work alone as a new insight (or self criticism) comes to mind. As I am a student trying to develop this very complex work to the level of clarification required for laboratory testing, PhD and other applications I co-author peer reviewed publications with academics senior to myself. I also expose myself to group discussions and when affordable will present at a major neuroscience conferences with the aim of soliciting high quality criticism.

To explain the concepts I often generate simplified physical models for the cortico-limbic system as this appears to be the brains “information engine”, but do not take this to mean that other complex facts are ignored. Look at the cortico-limbic models here as the final overall "computational superstructures" in the same way we look at cortical columns as mini-computers. My most recent co-authored published application of physics to this simplified approach (see 2014 paper in links) tested whether fundamental thermodynamics is consistent with computational principles from entire structural morphologies.

The theories history summarized on this website will show a sequence of specific predictions has progressively lead from development of hypothesis to actual current theoretical framework. My proposal is that to develop and innovate a well worked physical topology of intelligence will be pivotal. Complex self developing AGi will eventually have to self organize into an optimal physical topology and I propose it will not be too different from the simplified form presented here.

See this blog post for a brief introduction - my 2013 paper for the first draft formalization of computational principles and my 2009 paper for the background neuro model. The next work planned will derive specific key facets, such as re-enforcement learning, spatiotemporal perception and self-awareness from the current simplified thermodynamic basis.


Although the brain structures are shown to be EM in nature, and the proposal here is the intelligence has a definite physical form it might be thought this is the grandad of all EM mind theories. But paradoxially this is not a hameroff style quantum mind theory. Or even like other EM mind theories. Although i have been open minded to some types of magnetic brain model for various interesting concepts and developmental mechanisms, so I do mention various respected authors on this site. But overall, I stick with traditional approaches and do not get into quantum mind theories, partly because i dont think they are as interesting as stuart hameroff et al., seem to think. The concept of quantum mind is over-rated, and appear to tempt people into various non-science thinking styles that are way off track from computation and more about imagination, desires to remain in obscure thinking or understandable drives to lead others through spirituality than solving problems or understanding neuroscience.

By contrast taking a "so what" attitude to QM mind, and concentrating on deriving a more boring thermodynamic formalization of this approach can steer us from those thinking pitfalls. This leads me to the conclusion we can have QM "style" processes in classical scales which we already perform on current digital systems as matrix problems. Also from the physics side quantum computing, there are recent findings of QM entanglement in classical fluids that show us fluid dynamics can solve quantum weirdness in terms of pilot waves. So it appears like wave/particle can be no big mystery. i.e. no quantum/classical divide after all. It seems getting into quantum mind is way off track if we dont need quantum computers to do what the brain does anyway.

This poster here was designed for hitting you with the theory in a get it quick visual manner. If you wish data, and more facets of this complex theory in depth there are the papers. And please not this theory is not derived from images and never was. Although even if it was that should not be a problem For this poster, Click here for full size (then click again). Cortex in centre is mirrored on coronal plane of the human brain to clarify the dipole structure.  The text underneath this image helps clarify the posters points.

In this poster I hope to illustrate that the strongest model for all of these cortex features to occur together in on developmental timeframe is a magnetohydrodynamic field model, which would assist in axon guidance and neuron migration for these larger brain structures.  If you read the  newer posts on this site you will find evidence is accumulating independently to verify that the astroglia which produce cortex structure have a magnetic field mechanism.

In response to peer review, it should be stated the cortex  dipole has all the features particular to magnetic or ferro-electric dipoles.  All these features cannot result from entirely electric dipoles (according to physics known so far). Also bear in mind all EM structure similarity is not actual live EM. It is what occurs when EM forces in neurodevelopment are  controlled, frozen and encapsulated within conventional biological details.

*    The axons have bent into a very clear magnetic dipole configuration; this would require a magnetic field that can pass through the biological tissue without interference. Corpus callosum and other axons in development are unmyelinated and the remaining axon components are ferroelectric  i.e. microtubules and voltage gated channels (refer to H. Richard Leuchtag). This means it is possible to propose axons are able to be influenced to move  in any magnetic dipole or linear MHD field present in the radial glia.

*     There is a broad domain wall at the longitudinal fissure. These domain walls are only known so far to result from magnetic or ferro-electric forces. i.e. Magnetic forces. I remain open minded if anybody finds domain walls dominated by the electric dipole, however as far we know virtual photon forces due to bound magnetic fields are the mechanism for domain walls.

*     The cortex gyri and sulci as well as the cerebellum (not in image), have appearance of variations of magnetic domain patterns (i.e. magnetic stripe domains). These patterns have correct scaling in accordance with neuron to glia ratios in various species (right of diagram). Variances in astroglia correlate to Variance in magnetic field strength (see mechanisms below). 

*     The cortical columns themselves have magnetic pinwheel type structures in the entire morphology at the boundaries and center. Similar pinwheels have been found in the ventricular zone radial glia by other researchers, so we have a facility to propose the internal formation of cortex columns by a MHD mechanism which is consistent from bottom to top layer of their developmental timeline.

*      Axons have an MHD soliton structure, and we know now axons are EM solitons. Neurons are not so easily defined in EM morphology terms (except looking like electrostatic branches) but they do follow the "greedy growth" principle which can be derived as least action which occurs at magnetic poles

*      To summarize in case this is not clear, every single part of large scale cortical morphology has a magnetic type feature, with a strong case for the mechanics in progress.

However it should be pointed out that traditional theories of brain structure and development exist  without an EM framework. i.e. Tension based,  because it is possible for that to occur. If we are being completely objective and entertaining what I say it is possible to say that any resemblance to magnetic structures are a collection of interesting co-incidences.  However developmental frameworks are currently incomplete and new works point to dipole forces being present. 

Dipole neurology also has a specific mechanism defined to make sense of confusion regarding chemoattractants and adhesion systems in development (see menu bar - neurodevelopment). Dipole neurology also provides computational frameworks for general computing which are also on track to make sense of our inability to define feature extraction in terms of neural coding. So with one physical approach neurodevelopment and computation become unified. So, If this theory is correct its a very big theory for neuroscience.

MAGNETIC MECHANISM:  There is recent acceleration of growing work for large neuronal activity magnetic fields to be produced by the mechanism of the astroglia ion flow i.e. Neuronal  Activity Associated Magnetic Fields (NAAMF) proposed by Marcos Banachlocha in 2001. More recently several others researchers are moving into this field. Lester Ingber a former Fenyman student who provides the statistical mathematics with Paul Nunez (a founding figure in EEG)  have produced papers in this regard.  Other Recent examples are  Bokkon & Banaclocha, 2010 , Pereira & Furlan, 2010, Størmer & Laane, 2009, 2011. I Estimate there may be about 25 papers since 2001 on this area with insistence for labwork grants on the most recent papers. However the problem is even though the biophysics and maths have now been  well produced by these researchers, it is very technically difficult to do such research on adult brains (due to magnetic interference) without building a specialized lab. (summary of these papers here)

ARRIVAL OF EVIDENCE IN NEURODEVELOPMENT : However for the purpose of neurodevelopment the news is more positive. The radial glia calcium ion flow proposed to give rise to the brain structures is actually just using the above NAAMF mechanisms, as the astroglia in adults are the remnants of the radial glia in neurodevelopment.  A study on development (Weissman, TA et al; 2004.) has found the calcium ions can pulse through the entire hemisphere radial glia in development. This would mean the NAAMF magnetic mechanisms can in theory apply to the entire cortex. (see more on that here). More recently last year the developmental biophysicist Vincent Fluery independently films a hydrodynamic dipole and quadrupole force dominating the entire development of the chick embryos skull.  This hypothesis is not then without a strong starting basis for evidence on several levels.  I cannot reveal details without permission but there is labwork planned to measure the brains field strength, pulses in times with the observed dipole /quadrupole hydrodynamic flow, so linking physical observation with underlying physics. 

From V. Fleury, 2011. A change in boundary conditions induces a discontinuity of tissue flow in chicken embryos and the formation of the cephalic fold Eur. Phys. J. E (2011) 34: 73

And more papers I was not aware off. Apparently there about a dozen or more papers studying the presence of an EM Field in neurodevelopment. Many of these papers propose that the axons are evolved to conform to an EM field.  More of that when this site is updated. For now read the references in this paper.

Text from above paper for the image below

"There are numerous hypothesized mechanisms by which cells might sense an electrical field. A weak electrical field could impose a force on negatively charged cell surface receptors, or alternatively the electric force imposed on positive ions (Na+) could result in the flow of their associated hydration shell, which exerts a drag force on cell surface membranes. The resulting asymmetrical redistribution of cell surface receptors, such as the ones involved in sensing chemokines or motogens, could affect cell migration. Alternatively, the electric field could conceivably trigger voltage-gated ion channels or exert forces on adhesion receptors, such as integrins, which result in asymmetrical binding to extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Finally, phosphatases, such as Ci-VSP or PTEN, mediate cellular responses to electric fields"

What next ?

When you consider that if what I propose is true the ramifications for neuroscience are there. After all its not just another detail or facet here. Its the entire framework. However its still a backwater project, primarily because firstly that's the only way to develop this. Its not very likely i could develop all these various facets in today's quick results, corporate science career framework.  

So this work itself represents my slow DIY neuroscience education through university part time with the publications being prepped for PhD. This process which demands i produce 3-6 good publications, should get it into the kind of shape to be more usable to apply to neuroscience. 

In the meantime a new area of research has opened up which was predicted by this research. That of EM fields in neurodevelopment. Summary here called

"The bioelectric code: An ancient computational medium for dynamic control of growth and form"

When I get time I will curate the dipole mind project with more skill.  At the moment I am prioritizing on university lab work as well as a commercial mind improvement program.  Some details here