This has nothing to do with consciousness, but it may have something to do
with the origin of free will.
Discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons
corroborates controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousnessJanuary 16,
*Structure of a microtubule. The ring shape depicts a microtubule in
cross-section, showing the 13 protofilaments surrounding a hollow center.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)*
A review and
a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in
Elsevier’s *Physics of Life Reviews* (open access) claims that
consciousness derives from deeper-level, finer-scale activities inside
The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain
neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart
Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves)
also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a
practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a
host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.
Microtubules <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microtubule> are major
components of the structural skeleton of cells.
The theory, called “orchestrated objective
(‘Orch OR’), was first put forward in the mid-1990s by eminent mathematical
physicist Sir Roger Penrose, FRS, Mathematical Institute and Wadham
College, University of Oxford, and prominent anesthesiologist Stuart
Hameroff, MD, Anesthesiology, Psychology and Center for Consciousness
Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson.
*Three time-steps (e.g. at 10 megahertz) of a microtubule automaton.
Tubulin subunit dipole states (yellow, blue) represent information. (Left
three) Spin currents interact and compute along spiral lattice pathways.
For example (upper, middle in each microtubule) two upward traveling blue
spin waves intersect, generating a new vertical spin wave (a “glider gun”
in cellular automata). (Right three) A general microtubule automata
process. (Credit: P. Dustin, Microtubules, Springer-Verlag)*
They suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were
“orchestrated” (“Orch”) by synaptic inputs and memory stored in
microtubules, and terminated by Penrose “objective reduction” (‘OR’), hence
*Warm quantum coherence*
Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was
considered too “warm, wet, and noisy” for seemingly delicate quantum
processes. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant
photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain
The recent discovery of warm-temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules
inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay,
PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and
now at MIT), corroborates the pair’s theory and suggests that EEG rhythms
also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations.
In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the
University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively
erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via
microtubules in brain neurons.
“The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature
of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among
brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some
sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff
and Penrose in the current review.
“This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both
these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in
microtubules (protein polymers inside brain neurons), which govern neuronal
and synaptic function, and also connect brain processes to self-organizing
processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of
After 20 years of skeptical criticism, “the evidence now clearly supports
Orch OR,” continue Hameroff and Penrose. “Our new paper updates the
evidence, clarifies Orch OR quantum bits, or “qubits,” as helical pathways
in microtubule lattices, rebuts critics, and reviews 20 testable
predictions of Orch OR published in 1998 — of these, six are confirmed and
*Hidden origins of EEG*
An important new facet of the theory is introduced. Microtubule quantum
vibrations (e.g. in the megahertz frequency range) appear to interfere and
produce much slower EEG “beat frequencies.” Despite a century of clinical
use, the underlying origins of EEG rhythms have remained a mystery.
Clinical trials of brief brain stimulation — aimed at microtubule
resonances with megahertz mechanical vibrations using transcranial
ultrasound — have shown reported improvements in mood, and may prove useful
against Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury in the future.
Lead author Stuart Hameroff concludes, “Orch OR is the most rigorous,
comprehensive and successfully-tested theory of consciousness ever put
forth. From a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations
could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.”
The review is accompanied by eight commentaries from outside authorities,
including an Australian group of Orch OR arch-skeptics. To all, Hameroff
and Penrose respond robustly.
Penrose, Hameroff and Bandyopadhyay will explore their theories during a
session on “Microtubules and the Big Consciousness Debate” at the
Brainstorm Sessions, a public three-day event at the Brakke Grond in
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 16-18,
They will engage skeptics in a debate on the nature of consciousness, and
Bandyopadhyay and his team will couple microtubule vibrations from active
neurons to play Indian musical instruments. “Consciousness depends on
anharmonic vibrations of microtubules inside neurons, similar to certain
kinds of Indian music, but unlike Western music, which is harmonic,”
*Full disclosure: I have collaborated with Jack Tuszynski, a co-author with
Hameroff, in developing patent applications related to microtubules. —
Amara D. Angelica*
*Abstract of Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’
The nature of consciousness, the mechanism by which it occurs in the brain,
and its ultimate place in the universe are unknown. We proposed in the mid
1990ʼs that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’ coherent
quantum processes in collections of microtubules within brain neurons, that
these quantum processes correlate with, and regulate, neuronal synaptic and
membrane activity, and that the continuous Schrödinger evolution of each
such process terminates in accordance with the specific Diósi–Penrose (DP)
scheme of ‘objective reduction’ (‘OR’) of the quantum state. This
orchestrated OR activity (‘Orch OR’) is taken to result in moments of
conscious awareness and/or choice. The DP form of OR is related to the
fundamentals of quantum mechanics and space–time geometry, so Orch OR
suggests that there is a connection between the brainʼs biomolecular
processes and the basic structure of the universe. Here we review Orch OR
in light of criticisms and developments in quantum biology, neuroscience,
physics and cosmology. We also introduce a novel suggestion of ‘beat
frequencies’ of faster microtubule vibrations as a possible source of the
observed electro-encephalographic (‘EEG’) correlates of consciousness. We
conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.
- Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose, Consciousness in the universe: A
review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory, Physics of Life Reviews, Aug. 20,
- Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in “Microtubules” Inside Brain Neurons
Corroborates Controversial 20-Year-Old Theory of
*Topics:* Cognitive Science/Neuroscie
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email
To post to this group, send email to email@example.com.
Visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.