Stories about our Brains in the Media

“A team of researchers from the Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea have created some organic nano cables that simulate the functioning of biological synapses; the highways of our brain. The distinction of this advance is that they consume almost the same energy as ours, about 1.23 femtojoules. “Now they “only” have to reduce to a tenth the thickness of the nano cables. By then, we will be much closer to a biological computer or a digital brain. ” This is the news that instead enlightens us away from true knowledge, and lead us to believe that the brain is only connections, cells to cells, makes no sense. The digital brain is a joyful occurrence. And it seems that this gentleman has not delved into what synapses, electrical, or chemical, or lateral connections are.

In a cubic millimeter of the brain, there are about 100,000 neurons connected through 1 billion connections that communicate by exchanging chemicals, ions, and other substances that cause this activity. Do you mean this real brain?

The brain weighs a kilo and four hundred grams. The dendrites: extensions of each neuron to receive information and send it to the body of the neurons, when the total amount is added together, gives us a figure of 70 with 70 zeros. Without counting on these connections, they can change, exchange in seconds, increase or decrease their size, disappear, assert their connection strength or decrease it. They are usually not fixed, nor stable. Something that this laboratory seems to disregard.

For this immense network to work, more than one hundred neurotransmitters are needed and twice as many other substances from a complex metabolism of the entire body, which includes the digestive brain and the ten million sensors distributed throughout our body and being sent to our brain constantly. This information must be added to the organizing center that we call the brain, as well as the bacteria that form the intestinal macrobiota, thousands of proteins that act as enzymes, as signals, as structural support and many other functions. The brain is the center of our bodies’ nutrients, oxygen from the blood, and a network of blood vessels measuring 600 kilometers.

In that brain insulin plays a role. This role serves as an important neuromodulator that contributes to neurobiological processes, such as cellular, biochemical and molecular functions, but which is manufactured outside the brain, as we know, in the pancreas.

Insulin has a major role in synaptic plasticity, in the mood, learning: it exerts a neuroprotective function, in the birth of new connections, for the survival of the circuits, even as a neurotransmitter.

Insulin from the pancreas plays a major role in cognitive processes, attention, overall functions, learning and memory.

The mind-body relationship is being scandalously simplified. They have to explain to us where they are going to install a pancreas to supply insulin to that biological brain that they plan to manufacture.

(Insulin, aging, and the brain: mechanisms and implications. Abimbola A. Akintola and Diana van Heems Department of Gerontology  and geriatrics, Leiden University Medical center, leiden, Nethederlands)


José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis