Preface to Part 3

 

Parts 1 and 2 of this monograph were published one year ago and are now followed by Part 3. The first part dealt with the brain’s magnocellular system and demonstrated that the (vertebrate) brain uses large, magnocellular intermediate neurons to generate the climbing fiber signals needed for signal storage in the cerebellum. The brain’s basal ganglia system uses a multi-stage process to produce the primary climbing fiber signals.

Part 2 of the monograph reviews the brain’s parvocellular system and presents a theory explaining how complex signals are stored in the cerebellum. This postulates the existence of an inverse cerebellum and explains its function. It was demonstrated how active signals oscillate between the direct and the inverse cerebellum and how the inverse cerebellum created the basic preconditions for imagination, fantasy and intelligence. It was the author’s original intention to address the brain’s digital system in the next part of the monograph.

He subsequently modified this concept and decided to devote Part 3 to the limbic system. The reason why this became necessary was the author’s own doubts on his own echo theory involving the hippocampus and the cerebellum, as presented in Part 2 of the monograph. The author had originally taken the view that the hippocampus functions as a neuronal echo generator capable of producing echoes of approximately one second’s duration. Although this would have fitted nicely into the theory on signal storage in the cerebellum as presented in Part 2, it would have been conditional on an extremely low dissemination speed of the action potentials along the unmyelinated fibers.

The author was, however, unable to find any sources in the literature on dissemination speed of action potentials along unmyelinated fibers. The few data available were not backed up by technical details of the measuring methods used. In particular, nothing could be found on methods for measuring this dissemination speed in primates. The author is nevertheless convinced that low dissemination speed along unmyelinated fibers is an essential precondition for generation of long-term memory.

Consequently, the author has decided to use the speed of 0.2 m/s cited in the literature – e.g. in Neurowissenschaften by Dudel/Menzel/Schmidt, Springer, 2001 – until this has been disproved and, even though he believes that the actual speed is likely significantly lower. This unfortunately necessitates revision of some of his former opinions on hippocampus function.

The day will come, when scientists no longer explain away the low dissemination speed of action potentials along unmyelinated fibers as a relic from former epochs that evolution has failed to notice, and will upgrade it to an essential prerequisite for evolution of long-term memory.

 

It is in order to explain the reasons for this that the author is now devoting Part 3 of his monograph to the limbic system. The limbic system – when viewed from the standpoint of a mathematician and system theoretician – can serve as an example of the extent to which lack of understanding of a system’s method of functioning can spawn a host of flawed interpretations. The many existing theories on limbic system function, some of which are mutually exclusive and have even led in some cases to a form of scientific ‘trench warfare’, are clear evidence of the basic truth that all speculative theories need to be confirmed by reality.

 

Let us simply assume that the brain is comparable to an electrical circuit, in which all the relevant components like transistors, diodes, resistances, capacities, coils and wiring function in the same way as in electronic devices. Even the most complicated computer is manufactured from a finite and calculable number of electronic components. Let us assume that the same or something very similar applies to the brain.

 

This was the assumption followed in Parts 1 and 2 of this monograph, which have appeared as a separate work. And it is the basis for the logical deduction that the function of the limbic system is to process signals in a neuronal circuit.

 

It was indicated in conclusion – without proof – that it would be possible to explain the mode of action of a cellular column in the cortex in less than a thousand sentences, and a fundamental physical principle was used that is very popular in theoretical mathematics and can even be observed in inanimate nature. In this case, the author had no choice but to mention it as a mere allegation, because he is hoping to find at least one sponsor who is prepared to patent this principle as a microelectronic invention that will one day enable construction of computers that are genuinely intelligent.

 

One item not touched on in Part 3 of the monograph is the subject of learning of signals in the limbic system with the help of LTP and LTD. The substitution theorem required for this on theoretical grounds will probably not be addressed until Part 5 of this monograph, when the actual columns on which intelligence is based are discussed. The ability to recognize associations between elementary signals and to replace these by new, self-generated signals (complex signals) is one of the fundamental principles of intelligence and is used in the hippocampus, but not only there. This subject will not therefore be addressed until the last part of the monograph, which is not yet finished. This will be the part where the interactions between limbic and non-limbic systems will be discussed, in particular, the interchange of signals between these two systems with the ultimate goal of storing limbic system signals in the cerebellum’s passive memory and subsequent activation of signals from the cerebellum in the limbic system’s active memory for the purpose of reference to knowledge acquired in the past.

 

In view of the specialist world’s low level of interest in the limbic system, Part 3 of the monograph has been drafted in a style seldom used in scientific works. It is possible to explain the limbic system in a step-by-step process that is readily understandable. Even so, it represents a new and revolutionary explanation of limbic system function that focuses on processing, storage and deletion of signals. The fact that this type of signal processing enabled survival of life forms in a constantly changing environment is the secret of evolution’s success.

 

The bibliography lists the publications that enabled the author to develop his theory. Specific references to publications and quotations from these have been largely dispensed with, because the facts relating to the limbic system used in the monograph are now more or less common knowledge . The only thing still lacking was a theory linking these facts together.

 

 

Andreas Heinrich Malczan
Oranienburg, den 30.06.2013


ISBN 978-3-00-045141-6

Monograph by Dr. rer. nat. Andreas Heinrich Malczan