Our synapses can store up to 5 bits each
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The human brain is still an enigma when it comes to how it functions and a recent study shows the brain is 10 times better at memorizing things.
You probably already heard about us using only 10 percent of our brain and that it never works at full capacity. However, even those 10 percent are quite powerful and according to a new study, we are able to memorize about 10 times more than it was previously thought. Well, there are sure many 10s.
It seems that our brain could have the capacity to memorize at petabyte level, which is also as far as the whole World Wide Web can go. If we compare the brain with a computer, something which we normally do, the computer stores information in bits, while the brain stores information through synaptic strength.
The synapses are the ones the link neurons and control the way information flows around in the brain. But what we didn’t know so far was how much information can a synapse store. Synapses form from the connection between axons and dendrites, which link to interconnect neurons.
For conducting the study, the researchers have reconstructed in 3D the hippocampus tissue of a rat. They used advanced tools to create an accurate image of the rat’s brain and to analyze it to the tiniest details.
After reconstructing the neurons with their axons and dendrites and linked them creating synapses, they discover that the synapses were different in size. Of course, the difference was very small, about 8 percent. However, because it seems that the capacity to memorize things depends upon the size of a synapse, that small difference in size could actually prove to be very important, helping scientists estimate how many bits a synapse can store.
According to the researchers’ calculations, a single synapse could store about 4.7 bits of information which is a lot better than 1 or 2 bits as it was previously thought. Moreover, the synapses change their size, becoming larger or smaller adjusting to the signals they receive.
Therefore, one synapse can store as much as up to 5 bits depending on its size. This means our brains work a lot better than we expected and we should try and use this by exercising our memory to see truly how much we can remember.
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