The Blue Brain Project has recently come up with a model which describes the brain as a structure built by multi-dimensional spaces and constructions.
This new study helps us to understand our brains better and might even give us clues to answering questions like where in our brain memories are made.
The brain, particularly the human brain, is an extremely complex organ and science is still far from understanding all the intricacies of its complexity. However, a team of scientists working on the Blue Brain Project is now working toward better understanding the brain by using computer models.
The most recent model showed the brain to be a structure of multi-dimensional spaces and constructions.
“We found a world that we had never imagined,” neuroscientist Henry Markram, the director of Blue Brain Project as well as a professor at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, said.
These structures exist in numerous numbers, up to the seventh dimension, in the tiniest fleck of our brain. In some areas of the neural network, there were structures present as high as the eleventh dimension.
These structures, or constructions, are made when a group of neurons comes together to form a clique. Each neuron connects to each neuron in the clique to create a new structure. As many neurons exist in the brain, as do the number of structures
In each clique, the more the neurons, the more complex the structure, and the more the dimensions it consists of.
These dimensions are three-dimensional only if looked at in space. It’s just the complexity of the structure and the mathematics in calculating these dimensions which are used to name them as higher than three dimensions.
As Professor Cees van Leeuwen points out, multi-dimensions are also used to describe highly functional constructions or systems outside of physics. Working at KU Leuven, Belgium, Professor Leeuwen is a reviewer of the study and says that a good example of such a structure is the state of systems in state space.
This space is described as a union of the various levels of freedom in the system, and the state is the value of freedom afforded to these spaces.
With an organ like the brain that is so complex in its connections, the researchers aim to compare it to objects that they are comfortable with so that its working can be better understood, says Ran Levi of Aberdeen University, also one of the teams who worked on the paper. He underlines that without the comparison, you would only see a collection of trees, or neurons working randomly.
Levi said that they mapped the construction within the neural network of the brain with the known universe, thus allowing them to look at it from points of view of multi-dimensional objects, leading them to understand the brain’s constructions and functioning better.
A method called algebraic topology was applied to the model in a virtual brain structure which was created on a computer, and experiments were conducted on live brain tissue to see the effects.
When a stimulus was introduced to the virtual brain, the neurons formed subsequently higher dimensions of cliques, with spaces or cavities in between them.
Levi noted that this activity of forming high-dimensional holes in the brain tissue when the brain was working on processing data meant that the neurons were reacting to the stimulus in a highly defined manner. The brain seems to construct and demolish structures of multi-dimensional units in response to the stimuli, going progressively from simple structures of 1D (imagine rods) to 2D to 3D to more and more complex structures of higher dimensions of up to 7D (imagine multistoried buildings). The progression is comparable to sandcastles of various levels and outcroppings, only for it to fall apart at the next wave.