A detailed description of the neural system of animals is presented. It employs a new electrolytic
paradigm that provides a more sophisticated framework than the
chemical concept employed under the old paradigm. The focus is on the circuits and mechanisms causing a phenomenon, rather than on reporting the phenomenon. The subject is presented at the
histological and cytological level based on the new, and COMPREHENSIVE
in a series of web pages to be augmented by a series of individual guides via the left navigation panel.
Last update: Activa™: See Citation Page
The new paradigm describes the neuron as containing a three-terminal active electrolytic device formed by the junction of real semiconducting bilayer membranes (lemma), as the foundation of The Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron. A new Neuron Doctrine in axiomatic form is available. It replaces the largely conceptual doctrine of the past.
This theory is a replacement for the previous paradigm based on a two-terminal device (the axolemma membrane alone) formed of a putative permeable membrane subject to the Nernst Equation and supporting the flow of alkali ions through the membrane according to Hodgkin & Huxley, as the foundation of the chemical theory of the neuron.
The old paradigm of the neural system based primarily on chemical mechanisms is no longer tenable. While the dominant paradigm during the last half of the 20th Century, neuroscience has been held back through reliance on this concept. The primary signaling functions within the neural system are based on its electrolytic character. (Electrolytic = involving the transfer of electrical charge in a liquid environment.) The flow of electrons through an active electrolytic semiconducting device is the fundamental mechanism in the new paradigm, and is highlighted by the logo of this website. It is only the secondary functions, providing electrical power to the electrolytic circuits, that are fundamentally chemical in nature. It is these secondary functions, based heavily on stereochemistry, cellular surface physical chemistry and the permeability of the matrix surrounding the neurons that provide control of the neural processes.
The neuroscience community has suffered from a two-faceted quandary for many decades.
Without knowledge of this chemistry, no suitable theory of taste and smell has evolved.
The taste and smell modalities do not employ what is conventionally known as valence chemistry, combining both ionic and covalent chemistry. It employs the lesser known coordinate chemistry. This chemistry involves short term linkages, and does not generate residues. Based on this chemistry, and the concept of combinatorial analysis as used in these sensory modalities, it is possible to explain the operation of these modalities in detail as shown in the following documents:
This 21st Century electrolytic paradigm has proven extremely successful. Its success, particularly in describing the visual, auditory & olfactory/gustatory system of humans, overshadows any criticism generated within the context of the old paradigm. Several recent medical breakthroughs could not have been achieved in the absence of this new paradigm. The current understanding of the operation of the central nervous system, in the visual, auditory and smell contexts, would not be available without this new paradigm.
A particularly intriguing success has been the elucidation of the complete echolocation system of the bottlenosed dolphin (See callout on the right). This new understanding has provided new insights into the teaching of blind children in their intrinsic auditory echolocation capabilities.
The theory and descriptions of the neural system to be
presented here, based on the new 21st Century paradigm, is quite
extensive. To manage the volume of material to be considered, the
site has been subdivided into four major sites:
In developing the theory presented here, it was found that there was no satisfactory treatise on the BASIS OF THE NEURAL SYSTEM. The main work was stymied by this situation. The state of the neuroscience literature was found so inadequate in 1995 that a diversion was necessary. This diversion resulted in the publication of two new books:
Both of the highlighted texts are available for purchase on
their respective sites.
"Biological Vision: A 21st Century Tutorial"
"Hearing: A 21st Century Paradigm"
The texts can also be purchased through your local bookseller, on Amazon.com, or from Trafford Publishing in Bloomfield, Indiana.
The portion of this site related to the more general aspects of the neuron is still under development. However, extensive discussions of the neuron have been provided in Chapter 4 of the visual sensory site and Chapter 3 of the hearing sensory site.
The development of this site is being carried out in parallel with the development of the new text, "The Neuron & Neural System: A 21st Century Paradigm." However, the expansion in academic activity and academic inquiries based on the two previous books has resulted in a significant diversion of the authors focus from this third text.
Two fundamental findings and one major discovery related to the neuron have resulted from the overall effort:
The discovery of the active electrolytic semiconductor device, the Activa™, provided the key to the understanding of the operation of the neuron and the rest of the neural system. It placed the functional role of the various morphological and cytological structures in proper perspective and provided the correct interpretation of the operational phenomena involved.
The Activa is a unique biologically based structure that exhibits "transistor action" The term "transistor action" is a term in the Patent lexicon to define a unique quantum mechanical mechanism. The Activa, US Patent #5,946,185, is the electrolytic (biological) equivalent of the man-made transistor.
Go to MAJOR CONCEPTUAL CHANGES introduced by
the Electrolytic Theory of the neuron. These conceptual changes
have opened a new perspective on the neural system that has
created an entirely new paradigm related to the understanding of
the neural system. Go to MAJOR NEW DISCOVERIES
introduced by the Electrolytic Theory of the neuron
A preliminary Table of Contents to the work tentatively titled "The Neuron and Neural System" can be accessed using the tab at the upper left, Table of Contents.
The theory presented here is far more complete and mathematically rigorous than any other presented to date. It takes issue with many concepts that have become dogma over the years through indiscriminate repetition in textbooks and journal articles. Many of these poorly defined dogmatic positions are compared with a more explicit position based on the theory.
The main work introduces three major paradigm shifts affecting concepts held true for the last 50 years, a super extended period considering the rate of changes in other scientific technologies. The second shift redefines the fundamental nature of the neuron. It calls for a extending the Neuron Doctrine of Cajol beyond the realm of morphology to include electrophysiology.
A restated Neuron Doctrine [10.8.1]
One premise that is fully documented in Chapter 8 [8.7] is that all known synapses are electrolytic in origin and contain an Activa.
If the reader accepts the above premises and the shifts in thinking described, it is suggested that he will be amply rewarded. Many previously undefined phenomena become quantifiable and a large group of new performance descriptors become available.
Although the PARADIGM SHIFT related to the neuron is completely supported by the data in the literature, it is so significant that most of the hypotheses found in journal material must be considered obsolete until they are reinterpreted. Most neuron related hypotheses in current textbooks must also be considered obsolete. The PARADIGM SHIFTS, AS A GROUP, lead to a larger set of FUNDAMENTAL PREMISES that form the foundation of this work.
The list of new discoveries based on the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron is long. These discoveries refute many earlier ideas and relegate them to the "ash can of history." These discoveries are highlighted below.
The above list of MAJOR NEW DISCOVERIES will be annotated as to the principle webpages discussing each of these ideas in the future. An attempt will also be made to place these statements in a comprehensive framework. In the meantime, an extensive set of descriptors describing the visual system has been prepared. The descriptors are able to describe the vision process and the neural system to a totally new degree of accuracy and precision.
To understand the operation of the neural system, it is important that a framework be developed describing that system functionally. This work begins with a description of the Neural Architectures of biology. The block diagrams of the system define a series of functional stages within the system and support a variety of operating modes and subdivisions.
In exploring the sensory modalities, and the neuro-affectors of the neural system, it became clear that two distinct mini-neural systems existed within the overall neural system of the mammals. These subsystems were found in the cardiac system and the enteric system, as described anatomically. Both of these systems were found to be more than just mini-brains (as they have frequently been described); they are complete mini-neural systems including sensory, neuro-affector modalities as well as the computational capability usually associated with the central enrvous system (albeit on a smaller scale).
Sections of this website are under development to describe these mini-neural systems. Unfortunately, the discoveries emanating from the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron have been so broad and detailed that documentation is slow. Anyone specifically interested in these systems is invited to contact the author for beta-versions of the relevant materials.
This work has become so extensive, a theme-based Table of Contents is useful.
The following links will take the reader to the major subject matter.
The Section numbers are current (Aug. 2016) but the page numbers within the URL's are subject to editing.
At the end of each cited document is a detailed Table of Contents, List of Figures and an Index providing greater specificity
* PBV; "Processes in Biological Vision" James T. Fulton (2004)
The discovery of a new fundamental element within every neuron, and also forming every synapse and every Node of Ranvier obviously causes conflicts with the previous literature of the academic community. While a great deal of the empirical literature supports the new Paradigm, it obviously brings into question the teachings of many text books and Pedagogical undertakings. The following paragraphs will synopsize the faults found with the previous material based on the discovery of the ACTIVA and its accompanying ramifications.
Marmarelis has recently offered a broader Synergistic Approach to the Scientific Method than that espoused by Karl Popper (1902-1994). Where as Popper focused almost entirely on the use of Deduction as a methodology for developing a conceptual hypothesis for guiding the experimentallist, the approach of Marmarelis focused on the Inductive process to arrive at a more sophisticated null hypothesis before transitioning to the experimental phase of hypothesis verification. The two advantages introduced by the Marmarelis approach are the requirement that the investigator;
In essence, do not offer a hypothesis based on linear algebra or linear differential equations if the data is clearly nonlinear. Accept the fact that nonlinear differential equations are required to describe the data adequately. Similarly, do not assume the process is stationary with respect to time, if the data is demonstrably nonstationary.
Finally, do not assume a process is based on a specific physical framework, such as chemistry, when the data is telling you and the laboratory measurements are employing techniques outside the realm of chemstry.
By expanding Popper's Deductive portion with Marmarelis's Inductive portion, the Synergistic Approach of Marmarelis leads to much better Null Hypotheses and more rapid scientific advances.
This work continues to employ a definition of falsifiable (or refutable) derived from Popper. It does not derive from the common English concept of forgery but from the philosophical perspective of academic logic. The less than ideal term "to falsify" was used in the original translation of his work from the German.
Falsifiability or refutability is the logical possibility that an assertion can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, that if it is false, then some observation or experiment will produce a reproducible result that is in conflict with it. This discussion centers on the availability of experimental evidence showing the Chemical Theory of the Neuron is refultable.
In modern usage, Popper's assertions can be stated as follows.
In many pedagogical situations, a null hypothesis in conflict with the complete data set is allowed to stand as a "first order theory" while a new null hypothesis is proposed as a more advanced or second order theory. This situation is not always highlighted or even honored within the academic community.
The chemical theory of the neuron is founded on the application of the Nernst Diffusion Equation to a putative biological membrane exhibiting a bidirectional porosity continuum, and subsequent tweaks to it by Donner and by Goodman to make it satisfy individual empirical data samples.
A series of key experiments provide more than adequate falsification of the chemical theory (null hypothesis) of the neuron. The porosity of the biological membrane is clearly discontinuous, thereby falsifying the basic assumption. These experiments and the relevant background associated with them are presented on a separate web page, the Falsification of the Chemical Neuron
xxx empty at the moment.
The common electro-physiological models of the neuron have depended on the theory (null hypothesis) that the action potential of the chordate neural system is describable by a potential function that is a stationary and continuous function of time throughout its duration. Figure 6 of the first Hodgkin & Huxley paper (1952a) clearly showed the response of their experimental specimen, the giant axon of the squid, was not stationary with respect to time and exhibited separate attack and relaxation time constants. This situation alone falsifies the use of stationary and continuous linear differential equations to explain the observed output waveforms. With the discovery of the biological transistor, the Activa, and the incorporation of the Activa into a relaxation type (switching type) oscillator circuit, the Hodgkin & Huxley hypothesis becomes totally untenable. This places virtually all of the previous computational models of the neuron of Hodgkin and Huxley in jeopardy. They assume continuity between the rise and fall portions of the output waveform.
The problems associated with computational modeling of the Hodgkin and Huxley framework for the neuron generating action potentials are addressed in a separate document, the Falsification of the computational models of the Hodgkin and Huxley neuron.
Because of the revolutionary nature of some of the material presented, students subject to examination by their institution are encouraged to review the Cautions Page before proceeding.
The theory is far more complete and mathematically rigorous than any other presented to date. It introduces three major paradigm shifts affecting concepts held true for the last 50 years, a super extended period considering the rate of changes in other scientific technologies.
This site does not use Frames but is best viewed using version 4.0+ of Internet Explorer or similar browsers because it does use style sheets and tables. You must have Acrobat Reader on your system to download some of the documents. The program is available free from Acrobat Reader