by Akio Samejima M.D. (Director of Samejima Heartwarming Clinic)
They often say 21st century is “the century of the brain” and argue ‘How far is the brain understood now?’ By the way what on earth do we want to know about the brain?
First I will give you an answer――Einstein wrote that the whole universe is (to the fairly far extent；author’s note) understandable is a mystery itself.
My problem is “What in the world is the ‘understanding’ itself?” Can the brain understand the brain itself? If I say so, someone recalls G̈oedel’s incomplete theorem.
In my words “We can’t understand how and why we can understand.”
Moreover we entirely can’t know how to approach and attack the question.
For example; how do you certify a mathematical theorem that “1+1=2” is correct, in terms of brain functional mechanism.
This precisely is my ultimate problem about the cerebrum！
Distance from convincement to creation is near, i.e. getting a perfect command of something. “Synthesize new by cutting off distance of the separate two!” is my motto coined.
Specific example―― “Functional self-organization” I stated above at the last part of Chapter 1, actually consists of 3-layer structure. On the excitable cell (nerve, heart, muscle) membrane, square currents through discrete ion channels together form a new order called ‘action potential’.
Then discrete units of action potentials together form new higher orders of EEG and ECG waves (Functional Self-organization).
“I have done it!”, cry all if one succeeded a kip-up on a horizontal bar, or solved a difficult problem. One feels something like jumping up to the superstructure.
The answer of this feeling might be as follows――
From the outside harmonious universe, already being phylogenetically mapped(写像) into the brain in the precise order, the pleural elements（元げん）separated far and feeling charged each other but are destined to correlate, gradually getting stronger electrical searching and contacting, then link all at once, in the form of series of bursts of 100mV-impulses.
In Japanese traditional poems, there is such a stanza;
Thread-pierced-through pearls scattered all over the fall fields.
Just backward-motion displaying of this scene makes us picture the aggregation of electric discharge bursts of “convincement-neuronal assembly”. These processes might be the structure of convincement and the entrance to creation.
Setting philosophy aside, first the weapons measurable in the brain as scientific research, morphology of larger and smaller sizes, electric signals & optical signals based on them, brain blood flow, biochemical substances and their concentration & the metabolism may be listed.
① Brain function imaging； This method is to make images about what part of the living brain is activated when our brain achieves certain concrete work. Modifying the proverb ‘seeing is believing’, someone may think ‘seeing is understanding’.
The machinery first developed for research is gradually shifting for clinical use.
e.g.) EEG, XP, (Electron)Microscope, CT, MRI, (7Tesla)MRA, (7Tesla 3D-) f-MRI, PET, MEG(magnetoencephlogram), SPECT,NIRS( light topography ) etc. (Among those, when tested by XP, CT, PET, SPECT and also 3D-CTA, one must be caught by a small amount of radioactivity.)
② Sophistication of the brain function localization theory
The brain of course commands various higher functions such as thought, emotion, behavior, perception, memory. Among these simple activities are now known to be related to the working of certain specific part of the brain. That is one to one correspondence of structures and functions. This is called brain function localization.
To push researches further in this direction, we may discover complicated and subtle functioning of the brain may be attributable to the small special part of the cerebrum.
But as the function level becomes higher, it may be achieved only by the harmonious cooperation of many parts of the brain (e.g. Place-,Grid-,Mirror-neuronal assembly). At this place we must consider about section (3).
③ Making up of 3-Dimensional panel of brain neuronal impulse pattern
I imagine that a little time ago there was a Centralized Traffic Control(CTC) system having a huge panel that commands a whole view of running trains as light spots on lines. Like this picture, making the spatial-temporal dynamic pattern of action potentials conducting through nerve fibers and synapses synchronizing with thinking brain and body movement (such as speech) visible should become an important advance.
This is near to the understanding of the brain, though it is merely the level of ‘seeing＝understanding’.
④ At this science age, the discussion of God ?
Does anyone doubt the necessity of the guiding principle of science? From where Science Ethics and human free will come? When young I thought gods were the subject of archaeology. If you dislike gods or Buddha, the guiding principle must spring from your brain itself. If so, what on earth of who solves the mechanism giving birth the first principle?
The brain is in the universe and the universe is in the brain. Feel mystery of the universe is quite deep!
(Dec. 5; 2011)・・
【Acknowledgment and references】 As a coauthor and partly a first author I owe what I am today to my superior scientists.
1. Saburo Kawaguchi, T.Yamamoto and A.Samejima. Electrophysiological evidence for axonal sprouting of cellebellothalamic neurons in kittens after neonatal hemicellebelectomy. Exp. Brain Res.36,21-39(1979).
2. S.Yoshida, Y.Matsuda, and A.Samejima. Tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium and calcium components of action potentials in dorsal root ganglion cells of the adult mouse. J.Neurophysiol. 41,1096-1106(1978).
3. Akio Samejima,T.Yamamoto,and H.Oka Two groups of corticofugal neurons identified with the pontine stimulaton in the cat parietal association cortex : an intracellular HRP study. Brain Res.347,117-120(1985).
Since Feb.27th. 2016, the priority of this paper(Japanese edition) is attacked.
Please watch us, IBRO(International Brain Research Organization)！
◆ Pain, wristcut； Hystery, catharsis； and their Brain topography
At Kyoto University & Fukui Uni National Corp. since long time ago, I've studied about cerebral
cortex somatosensory area electrophysiologicaly.
When a girl cuts by herself her left wrist, where on the earth does she feel pain?
Her left wrist, the dorsal root ganglion of her spinal cord, the ventrobasal ganglia of her thalamus
or her cerebral cortex?
I've concluded I can't decide the central nervous system portion responsible for the pain.
I can't identify the specific portion, instead, the 'portion' is a continuous spectrum from the skin to
the secondary somatosensory cortex or to the parietal cerebral cortex.
The pain sense is a spectrum like a rainbow having 'seven' colours.
Sensory numbness phenomena of hystery have the same implication as pain.
From the periphery of her body to her nerve, to her CNS, or to her mind, I can't decide where is
A wristcutter may have some kind of 'hysterical' catharsis processed throug the CNS spectrum
from her pain, if my speculation is permitted.
Listening to my theory, Yutaka Ohno Ph.D. of Keioh Uni suggested me that hypnotic therapy
could be effective to treat the cancer pain. (Dec. 22; 2016)