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This page presents the New Neuron Doctrine based on the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron. The wording below is one of two. An alternate wording can be found in Section 2.6.2 of the Introductory Chapter of "The Neuron and the Neural System: An Electrolytic Paradigm" downlaadable from the document page of this website.

A new Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron has emerged during the preparation of this work that answers many questions left unanswered by the previous chemical theory applied to neuroscience. The Electrolytic Theory is also able to answer questions that have not even been formulated under the chemical theory. It will be summarized here to reflect the material developed above and to provide a preview of the material to follow.

The Electrolytic Theory begins with a basic axiom

The neural system of any organism consists of a series of electrolytic conduits interconnecting a series of fundamental physiological units of the neural system. Each fundamental physiological unit is a conexus. A conexus consists of an Activa, an active electrolytic liquid-crystalline semiconducting device, and its associated electrical components.

  1. The conexus (and its Activa) are found within individual neurons and between neurons. Every neuron contains at least one Activa, but may contain many. A neuron containing multiple Activas cannot be considered the fundamental physiological element of the neural system.

The Electrolytic Theory contains several Corollaries to the basic axiom

  1. Signaling within the neural system is by electronic means. Signaling is accomplished by transferring electrons (fundamental electrical charges) into and out of electrolytic conduits, and between conduits. The Activas control the flow of charge out of and between conduits.

    The lemma of each conduit is subdivided into regions optimized for each of the above functions. As a group, these regions remain impervious to hydrophilic and lipophilic ions.

  2. Each Activa is a three-terminal electrolytic device interconnecting three electrolytic conduits.

  3. The Activa is equivalent to a man-made pnp transistor. It is an analog (tonic) device.

  4. The Activa can be made to oscillate (generate action potentials) by introducing positive feedback into its associated circuitry. Less than 5% of all neurons generate action potentials. The feedback is universally of the internal type.

  5. Electrons (electrical charges) are supplied to each conduit of the neural system by an electrostenolytic process on the lemma of the conduit. The electrostenolytic process converts glutamic acid (glutamate) into GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). The process releases one molecule of CO2 and injects one electron into the interior of the conduit for each molecular conversion.

  6. All chemicals previously known as neurotransmitters are actually neuro-facilitators, neuro-inhibitors or neuro-modulators depending on how they affect the basic neuron.

  7. The conduits of extended length, typically described as axons, are properly modeled as coaxial transmission lines. Inductance and capacitance play major roles in their operation.

  8. Signal Propagation over a coaxial axon is by electromagnetic means (not chemical diffusion). Delay, due to a finite signal propagation velocity, is a significant factor in the neural signaling system.

A paradigm shift to the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron is justified based on at least four major factors

  1. The experimental fact that the most common symmetrical biological bilayer membranes are impervious to ions.

  2. The recognition of the experimental fact that the biological membranes of interest are electrical diodes.

  3. The understanding of the internal structure of the neuron and the variety of membranes employed within it. This is due primarily to recent improvements in high magnification electron-microscopy.

  4. The discovery of the Activa, a device critically dependent on the electrical semipermeability of a membrane to fundamental electrical charges.

Accepting the above paradigm shift requires that much of the neurological literature of 1950-2000 be reexamined for relevance. While most of the data remains relevant, much of the discussion does not. Accepting the above paradigm shift also leads to the complete description of the neural system contained in the following chapters.

Fortunately, this work finds no need to issue such a sweeping caveat to the Electrolytic Theory of the neuron as that by McGeer, et. al. for the previous chemical theory2. In defending their interpretation of the Neuron Doctrine based on the Chemical Theory of the Neuron, which was largely related to the synapse, they said  " "It is well to keep in mind, therefore, that the classical descriptions presented here fall far short of telling the complete story of how neurons communicate by chemical messengers." The natural conclusion is that they were unable to confirm their ideological and largely conceptual position.

The Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron provides a very comprehensive description of how neurons communicate electrolytically without invoking any chemical messengers. It also shows that the purported chemical messengers actually affect the power supply to the neurons. They are not directly involved in signaling. Obviously, the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron does not suffer from the problem of defining neurotransmitters highlighted in Chapter 5 of McGeer et al. It provides precise mathematical descriptions of the performance of each and every synapse and neuron.

If one abandons the chemically based Neuron Doctrine, and embraces a totally electrolytic framework, our understanding of the neuron and the neurological system can move forward very rapidly. It is the electrolytic theory of the neuron and neural system that is the basis of this work.

The long-sought, but never cytologically defined, ion-pump required by the chemical theory of the neuron is replaced by the electrostenolytic process, acting as an electron-pump, in the Electrolytic Theory of the Neuron.

The Neuron interpreted using the Electrolytic Theory

The basic neuron can be described in considerable detail based on the Electrolytic Theory. Go to Neural Architecture to review this material.

The Neural System Architecture based on the Electrolytic Theory

The neural system can be described in considerable detail based on the Electolytic Theory. Go to Neural Architecture to review this material.

Return to the Neuron Research home page.


Fulton, J. (2010) The Neuron and Neural System: An Electrolytic Paradigm. http://neuronresearch.net/neuron/document.htm

McGeer, P. Eccles, J. & McGeer, E. (1987) Molecular Neurobiology of the Mammalian Brain. NY: Plenum Press.