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Bold new Israeli brain principle touted as breakthrough for drugs, computing

Israeli scientists have posted an audacious new concept as to how the mind learns, and say that it could open up up new choices for dealing with degenerative ailments — and for boosting the energy of computer systems.

The analysis appeared Thursday in Scientific Reviews, a journal printed by Mother nature. It has been peer-reviewed, which usually means it has been closely analyzed and deemed deserving of publication by impartial specialists.

The research indicates that whilst it’s extensively believed that a lot of the brain’s finding out transpires in synapses, a significant aspect of discovering really transpires in a further portion of neurons — in dendrites.

Synapses are the small gaps between two neurons, exactly where nerve impulses are relayed, when dendrites are extensions of nerve cells.

Prof. Ido Kanter of Bar-Ilan College, who led the analysis involving a long time of animal experiments, told The Periods of Israel that the finding is “exciting” due to the fact drug builders can use it to assistance build new kinds of treatments for degenerative illnesses, these kinds of as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

He said that by focusing on strengthening the functionality of dendrites, these kinds of new treatment options may turn into probable.

An illustration of neuron anatomy, like dendrites. (iStock by way of Getty Visuals)

Kanter commented: “Today, the concentrate of most investigation for drugs is synapses, but if some of it commences to target on dendrites, we have an opportunity to open up up new choices in medication enhancement in the mild of our conclusions.”

Kanter mentioned that 1 cause the discovering is important is that dendrites eat considerably considerably less electricity than synapses. Studying and comprehension how they empower discovering will assist pc science, as properly as medication, he predicted.

Prof. Ido Kanter, of Bar-Ilan University (courtesy of Bar-Ilan University)

For the last 70 many years, machine discovering has been centered on the notion that brain discovering takes place by modifying the energy of the synapses, next the relative firing action of their connecting neurons.

“Dendrite discovering is considerably extra economical than the working of synapses, helping to reveal why it is that brains are far slower than computers but can essentially do significantly far more in some respects.

“As we realize dendrite studying superior, I think it will empower us to imitate its quite productive character in artificial intelligence,” he reported.

“This could pave the way to much extra strong desktops that work a great deal speedier and examine substantially much more data in restricted time. The sky could be the limit.”

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