In a fascinating study to be published in the journal Neuron researchers at the Standford University of Medicine have found that the human brain contains more switches than all the computers on Earth.
They found this by spending the last few years working on a new imaging model called array tomography along with some novel computation software. This was done by stiching together image slices into a three-dimensional image that could be rotated, penetrated and navigated.
In the study they found that the complexity of human brain is actually far beyond anything that they had imagined. As Stephen Smith, professor of molecular and cellular physiology, has described it:
One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
The following video, courtesy of the team at CNET news, explores the outer surface of a mouse’s cortex through all six layers and subcortical white matter to the adjoining striatum.