Do quantum effects play a role in consciousness?

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Do quantum effects play a role in consciousness?

Betony Adams

Quote:The role of biophotons in the brain is a growing area of research in neurobiology – and where there are photons there might be quantum mechanics. Betony Adams and Francesco Petruccione explore this developing, and contentious, field of quantum biophysics.

Quote:...What is interesting in the context of quantum consciousness is that nerve cells contain structures such as microtubules and mitochondria that might support coherent energy transfer in a manner similar to that in photosynthesis. Microtubules form part of the cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells (those with a nucleus enclosed in an envelope, found in plants and animals) and some prokaryotic cells (those with no nucleus envelope, which archaea and bacteria are made of). They provide shape and structure, and are instrumental in cell division as well as the movement of motor proteins. They are made up of polymers of tubulin proteins and within these are chromophores similar to those found in photosynthetic networks. Chromophores are also found in mitochondria, the power stations of the cell. This had led some researchers to suggest that anaesthetics work by disrupting coherent energy processes and in turn disrupting consciousness....

Quote:...What is perhaps more surprising with regards to lithium is that different isotopes have been shown to have differing effects on the mothering behaviour of rats. A similar phenomenon has recently been recorded in the action of xenon, an anaesthetic. Na Li and colleagues at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, found that differing isotopes of xenon cause differing levels of unconsciousness (Anesthesiology 129 271). This seems extraordinary, that changing something as small as the spin of a nucleus might result in macroscopic changes on the level of something as complex as the mothering instinct or, indeed, consciousness itself...

Quote:In another recent study, quantum dots – semiconducting nanoparticles capable of producing light – were successfully used to undo the protein clumping linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease (Nature Nanotechnology 13 812). Meanwhile, declining eyesight has been shown to improve through the amelioration of mitochondrial damage by red light treatment (The Journals of Gerontology: Series A 75 e49). Photobiomodulation, the application of red or near-infrared laser light, has also shown promise in treating various brain disorders, as well as improving attention, memory and learning (BBA Clinical 6 113).
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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