Exploring the Reality of Nerve Spikes: Uncovering the Century-Old Mystery

The old picture of a spike in a nerve is incorrect: the filaments ignite before the membrane

Occasionally, some insightful experiments were conducted on the topic of this review. However, these studies had little impact on mainstream neurology. In the 1920s, it was demonstrated that neurons can communicate and fire despite the fact that the transmission of ions from two neighboring neuronal cells is blocked. This indicates that there is non-physical communication between neurons. This observation was largely ignored by the neuroscience community, which believed that physical contact is required for communication. Hodgkin and his colleagues conducted experiments in the 1960s that revealed the importance of physical contact between neurons. They did not consider one very important question when they found that neuron bursts were possible even if the filaments inside the neurons were dissolved in the cell fluid. Could the time interval between spikes be regulated without filaments? Subthreshold communications that modulate the time between spikes are key in cognitive brain processes [ 14][ 6]. A membrane can fire without filaments, but blunt firing isn’t useful for cognition. So far, the membrane’s modulation of time is attributed to only the density of its ion channel. This partial evidence was questioned because neurons could not process a different pattern of spike-time gaps before adjusting the density. The cognitive response will be non-functional if a neuron does not edit the time between two consecutive spikes before the density of the ion channel changes and fits the modified time gaps (20 minutes is required for the ion-channel densities to adjust [25]). Many discrepancies have been noted so far. Despite this, there has been no attempt to resolve the issues. Many reports in the 1990s suggested that electromagnetic bursts and electric field imbalances caused firing. These reports were ignored in the work done on modeling neurons. It is not surprising that the improvements made to the Hodgkin-Huxley model in the 1990s, were ignored because they were too computationally demanding to automate neural network according to new, more complex equations. Even when computing power increased, the improvements remained ignored. Here we also note the final discovery of a grid-like actin-beta-spectrin network just below the membrane of the neuron [ 26] which is directly attached to the membrane. This raises the question, why is this network present in a neuron bridging between the membrane and filamentary bundles?

There are many questions, but perhaps the most important is the simplest one ever asked by neuroscientists. What is a nerve-spike like in reality? Answer is available. Since the ring is 2D, it could be said that a spike of nerve is a 3D structure. In Figure 1a we have compared perception and reality of the shape of a spike. It’s not as simple as it seems. The majority of ion channels within that circular strip must be activated at the same time. All ion channels in this circular area should be depolarized and polarized simultaneously. It is easy to assume, but difficult to explain.


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