According to a new study, Neuroscientists postulate that our brains could have an energy saving mode like phones and laptops.
The scientists — Zahid Padamsey, Danai Katsanevaki, Nathalie Dupuy, and Nathalie L. Rochefort — conducted the experiment to back the postulate up at the University of Edinburgh, which is the 4th ranked university in the UK and the 14th in the world.
Published in Neuron, a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Cell Press, the researchers found that their subject’s (a mice) rain goes into a low-power mode when it is starved and unable to get food.
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In this state, the neurons in its visual cortex reduce the amount of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) used at their synapses — the ATP is the end product of sugar glucose from brain cells, sent regularly.
What happens is that with the reduced ATP, mice process fewer visual signals, and their perception is also greatly affected. And from years of research, scientists have been able to use mice brains to study what happens in humans. Although the animal’s brain is not the smaller version of a human’s, the genes that build and operate both are 90 per cent identical.
Thus, if it can happen to mice brain, it is likely to happen to a person’s brain as well.
“A key finding of our study is that in times of food scarcity, coding precision in the mammalian cortex is reduced, resulting in energy savings,” the journal says. “This is consistent with studies in invertebrates and suggests that the reduction of costly neuronal functions under food shortage is an evolutionary conserved feature to favor survival.”
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