Re: NEWS: High-res neurons

Anders Sandberg (
02 Oct 1999 18:39:31 +0200

Brian Atkins <> writes:

> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> >
> >
> This is not clearly worded... are they saying that they have used
> a laser to store data on neurons, or that they have used a laser
> to discover that neurons naturally store info on their surfaces?

They have been using infrared light to image the neurons, and UV to activate glutamate packed into "cages" at very precise spots (well, rather precise - that spot is still of the same size as the synapse). What they found was that LTD could be induced on just single synapses, which shows that information can be stored individually in synapses. IMHO *very* nice research, and a method that is bound to be popular.

Does this lead to a Copernikean revolution in neurology? No. I think most people in the field would have guessed LTD and LTP are synapse specific, possibly with long-range effects (maybe through NO), so this is just confirmation of a long-standing suspicion. If they show that just a small piece of the synapse can be specific, then I will start to worry and experiment with changing my own models.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y