Scientists discover quantum mechanical switching in ferritin structures...

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Scientists discover quantum mechanical switching in ferritin structures similar to those found in neural tissue

Chris Rourk

Quote:The tests were designed to study electron transport in ferritin structures that are similar to ones found in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and locus coeruleus (LC), groups of neurons that are found in the brain. Parkinson's disease research has shown that destruction of the neurons of the SNc results in the loss of the ability to initiate voluntary action, and that the destruction of neurons in the LC results in impaired cognitive processing. The results of these tests demonstrate that ferritin layers in those structures could provide a switching function that coordinates those groups of neurons to perform action selection and cognitive processing, respectively. While not conclusively establishing that these structures provide that function in those groups of neurons, these tests indicate a need for additional research and testing of tissues where such ferritin accumulations are found, to determine whether the electron transport and switching functions of such ferritin formations are used for such important biological functions.

While quantum biology in general and the study of electron transport in ferritin in particular are still relatively new, the discoveries that have been made to date indicate the need for additional investigation. There is a tendency to view ferritin as "only" an iron storage protein, but it is unlikely that ferritin evolved over hundreds of millions of years with a quantum mechanical electron transport mechanism that has not been utilized by nature. If that mechanism exists and is used to perform action selection and cognitive processing, it could have important implications for our understanding of how the brain functions.
'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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