Consciousness, Cognition and the Neuronal Cytoskeleton - A New Paradigm Needed in Neuroscience

Author: Stuart Hameroff1,2,3
1 Department of Anesthesiology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States.
2 Department of Psychology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States.
3 Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States.
Conference/Journal: Front Mol Neurosci
Date published: 2022 Jun 16
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Pages: 869935 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2022.869935. , Word Count: 209

Viewing the brain as a complex computer of simple neurons cannot account for consciousness nor essential features of cognition. Single cell organisms with no synapses perform purposeful intelligent functions using their cytoskeletal microtubules. A new paradigm is needed to view the brain as a scale-invariant hierarchy extending both upward from the level of neurons to larger and larger neuronal networks, but also downward, inward, to deeper, faster quantum and classical processes in cytoskeletal microtubules inside neurons. Evidence shows self-similar patterns of conductive resonances repeating in terahertz, gigahertz, megahertz, kilohertz and hertz frequency ranges in microtubules. These conductive resonances apparently originate in terahertz quantum dipole oscillations and optical interactions among pi electron resonance clouds of aromatic amino acid rings of tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine within each tubulin, the component subunit of microtubules, and the brain's most abundant protein. Evidence from cultured neuronal networks also now shows that gigahertz and megahertz oscillations in dendritic-somatic microtubules regulate specific firings of distal axonal branches, causally modulating membrane and synaptic activities. The brain should be viewed as a scale-invariant hierarchy, with quantum and classical processes critical to consciousness and cognition originating in microtubules inside neurons.

Keywords: Orch OR; consciousness; cortical pyramidal neurons; memory; microtubules; quantum coherence; quantum computing; tubulin.

PMID: 35782391 PMCID: PMC9245524 DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2022.869935