Consciousness: new thermodynamically inspired theory tries to explain what it is

What does consciousness depend on and how does it originate? This is one of the most fascinating questions but also one of the most inexplicable of all science also because studying conscience itself often poses problems related to the sector from which to start in order to lay the foundations for a study. New research, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, tries to answer this question referring to what can be considered a new theory inspired by thermodynamics.

If in the past it has been hypothesized that consciousness can derive from a highly coordinated activity between neurons, the researchers behind this study believe instead that the key to awareness is an energy flow and reflux: when neurons connect to each other for processing the information, the patterns of these activities tune in like ocean waves.

According to the authors of the study, this would be a process intrinsically related to that of thermodynamic principles.

The latter would be at the base of the same neural connections and therefore of consciousness. Furthermore, interruptions of this process of energy flow and reflux would lead to the interruption of communication between neural networks and would give rise to the most common neurological disorders we know, such as epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia.

This is a study that, as reported in the article on Medium presenting the study (see the link below), combines classical physics (essentially the laws of thermodynamics) with everything we know about neural activity today: it follows a general framework in which changes in free energy help to temporarily synchronize activity in neural networks.

The study was produced by researcher Jose L. Perez Velazquez affiliated with the Ronin Institute of Montclair who worked together with colleagues Diego M. Mateos and Ramon Guevara Erra.

Medium article:

Sweetened beverages can damage teeth lining and accelerate wear

Sweetened alcoholic drinks are the most common link between obesity and tooth wear, according to a new study published in Clinical Oral Investigations.

The research, carried out by researchers at King’s College London, has in fact focused on the relationship between overweight or obesity and tooth wear. Analyzing a data database of 3541 patients from the United States, data dating back to the years 2003 and 2004, the researchers found that the increase in consumption of sugary drinks is one of the main causes, if not the main one, with regard to erosion of the enamel of teeth and dentin in obese people.

Data regarding the consumption of acidic sugary drinks had been taken during a survey conducted through two interviews in which the participants were asked to provide details regarding the consumption of drinks and food. According to Saoirse O’Toole, one of the researchers working on the study, it is the acid nature of many carbonated and sugary drinks, including fruit juices, that accelerates tooth wear.

This last condition is classified as the third most important dental condition after tooth decay and gum disease. Premature tooth wear is a condition that characterizes up to 30% of adults in Europe and is characterized by slow dissolution of the external enamel of the teeth. This dissolution can then lead to a greater sensitivity of the teeth themselves, especially when taking food or cold drinks.

This is an important discovery for all those obese subjects who continue to consume sugary drinks. As so many other researches have shown, these drinks can lead to many health problems or accelerate the course of various conditions, primarily obesity, and now this research shows that they can also damage the lining of teeth.