Last Update 02 July 2011         Rhodonine™ and Activa™: See Citation Page


One of the primary reasons for preparing this text, which grew beyond all expectations, was to provide a sufficiently broad base to successfully challenge the conventional wisdom concerning the neural system.   The result has been more successful than anyone could have imagined.   The result is a new contiguous model (founded on chemistry, physics and mathematics) of the neural system that differs substantially and fundamentally from the previous conventional wisdom (largely conceptual and based largely on discrete (floating) models of the Neuron and the Neural System.   Many of these variances are summarized on this page.  Hyperlinks are provided to more detailed discussions and secondary findings.

The most important differences are summarized in the following sections:


To understand the material to follow, it is useful to provide A restated Neuron Doctrine of Cajal compatible with his proposal but recognizing the tremendous expansion in knowledge since the early 20th Century.

The three terminal Activa is the fundamental building block of the nervous system and accounts for the detailed performance of the neurons, the synapses and the Nodes of Ranvier.


To aid in understanding this work, it is useful to provide a roadmap of the premises developed within it. It is only by comprehending these premises as a group that the overall work can be considered and the scope of the entire work can be appreciated.

The fundamental principles underlying the Paradigm Shift of this work are five.

  1. All neural (and in fact all biological) tissue exists in the liquid-crystalline state of matter in-vivo.

  2. All mechanisms operating within the neural system are deterministic.

  3. The fundamental neurolemma is a phospholipid bilayer where each bilayer is amphiphilic

  4. The fundamental neurolemma is a barrier to all electrical charges and forms a near perfect capacitor.

  5. The Laws of Semiconductor Physics apply to liquid-crystalline semiconducting (type 2) neurolemma.


An attempt will be made to list these premises in a quasi hierarchal manner beginning in object space and proceeding toward the cortex. However, the system deviates substantially from a single topological signaling path, or even parallel topological paths. The bold roman numerals, e.g. (II), at the start of a subject indicates it is directly related to the above section on PARADIGM SHIFTS

These premises were developed in conjunction with the development of the various block and circuit diagrams of vision and are based on the data in the literature. The premises are confirmed by the ability of a new set of performance descriptors to define the performance of the visual system with a precision not found elsewhere. All of these performance descriptors can be filtered to emulate the performance previously measured in the laboratory with less than adequate instrumentation or experimental design. Many of these premises can be confirmed by the reader, in an anecdotal manner, using the simple tests defined at this web site.

Fundamental Axioms

In the course of formalizing this work, several fundamental discoveries have been made. They are summarized below:

Table of Principle discoveries
The Neuron is
The Neuron is
The Neuron is
a 3-terminal device
Gap Junction is
an active device
Neural System is
modular & plastic
Neural System
is 95% analog
Neural system is
exponential NOT linear
2 neural syst.
4 chromophores
of vision
Tectorial memb. of
hearing is passive
Taste has 4
Smell has
15-25 receptors
Cardiac Muscle
is special
Amino acids
power neural syst.
  1. the neural system is based fundamentally on electrolytic chemistry (rather than the ionic or electrodic branches of the more general "electro-chemistry" or "chemistry").

  2. the discovery of the active biological semiconductor device that is the equivalent of the solid state transistor.

  3. the discovery that a neuron is a three-terminal device.

  4. the discovery that the "gap junction" is itself an Activa.

  5. the discovery that the neural system can be described as an orderly system of modules, and that it employs common neural circuits across a wide range of sensory and operating modalities.

  6. the discovery that more than 95% of the neurons in the neural system operate as analog circuit elements.

  7. the discovery that the neural system is fundamentally nonlinear.

  8. the discovery that the neural system employs two distinct "executives."

  9. the discovery of a new family of retinoids, the Rhodonines, that are the four actual chromophores (sensory receptors) of animal vision.

  10. the discovery that the tectorial membrane is a passive element in the operation of the cochlea of hearing, supporting the critical role of Hensen's stripe.

  11. the discovery of the four gustaphores of taste and the encoding of all taste stimuli into a three-dimensional sensation space.

  12. the discovery that the olfaction modality relies upon coordinate chemistry and the dipole potential of specific stimulants to create an overall sensation in a multi-dimensional olfaction space (estimated 15-25 dimensions).

  13. the discovery of the fundamentally unique form of neuro-mylo-cyte employed in the heart of animals.
  14. The neural system is powered by a unique set of amino acids

Additional Supporting Corollaries

The following material is keyed to and called by the above Axioms.

  • The Activa, an active electrolytic semiconductor device, is the fundamental neural mechanism.,

  • The signal projection system of chordates employs a very sophisticated spatial and temporal encoding system. .
  • The vast majority of the neurons in a given animal are operated in the analog mode.

  • The fundamental mechanism displayed by a neuron is not the excitability of the axolemma. It is the "excitability, i. e. transistor action" achieved at the junction between two lemmas.

  • The so-called voltage clamp configuration has not been well characterized in the past. The circuit diagrams of this work, reachable from the Navigation Bar, illustrate at least five fundamentally different operating states obtainable by implementing the standard voltage clamp protocol.

  • There are four fundamental types of electrolytic circuits within the neural system
    1. There are highly specialized signal sensing neurons at the periphery of the system which generally contain multiple Activa in unique circuit configurations.
    2. There are signal manipulation neurons found in both the peripheral and the central nervous system which generally contain only one internal (three terminal) Activa plus a large number of Activas associated with the terminals of their arborization.
    3. There are signal projection neurons (typically called ganglion cells), located in both the central and peripheral neural systems, that contain a series of Activa located at each Node of Ranvier.
    4. There are neuroaffector neurons that are the primary interface with both the muscle system and the hormonal system. More

  • The operation of the projection neurons of the neural system (such as the ganglion cells of the retina) are poorly understood.

  • The magnitude of these discoveries clearly supports the assertion that a paradigm shift has occurred in our understanding of the neural system.



    I. The neural system is electolytically rather than chemically based.

    The neural system consists of a series of electrolytic conduits separated by Activas, active electrolytic semiconductor devices similar to transistors.

    The equilibrium laws of Nernst, Donnan, Goldman and Hodgkin & Huxley do not apply to neurons.

    Based on the knowledge gained since the 1950's, it is clear that the biological bilayer membrane used to form the neural conduits is not permeable to ions. These membranes can be symmetrical at the molecular level in which case they are also impermeable to fundamental electrical charges. If they are asymmetrical at the molecular level, they remain impermeable to ions but are electrically asymmetrical and semiconductive to fundamental charged particles (electrons and holes).

    The asymmetry of the biological bilayer membrane to electrons is clear proof of the existance of a variable electrical field within the membrane. Such a field is inconsistent with the fundamental assumption of a constant electrical field used in the derivation of the Nernst, Donnan, Goldman and Hodgkin & Huxley equilibrium equations.

    II. The argument over a chemical versus electronic synapse is over

    The vast majority, if not all, synapses are fundamentally electrolytic and contain an Activa.

    The electrolytic hypothesis provides detailed answers to questions about the synapse. These same questions can not even be expressed under the chemical hypothesis.


    Great strides are being made at this time in our understanding of the brain. Only particularly relevant comments will be made here.

    I.    Organization

    The cortex consists of an essentially two dimensional laminate of about six layers in thickness. Each small region of the two dimensional surface consists of functional sites defined as engines in this work. These engines are interconnected in a n-pointed star configuration that allows efficient interconnection between any two nodes of the star network. The engines associated with a given function tend to be located within a specific area. The location and inter-relation of the various areas appears to have been chosen on architectural and signal handling grounds.

    II.  The signal processing within the brain is concentrated in a large number of processing engines

    The signal processing function within the cortex appears to be concentrated in an uncountable number of individual signal processing engines. Most of the engines related to vision can be described as extraction engines that implement various extraction mechanisms (or signal processing routines). Additional engines, particularly in the frontal lobe of the brain can be considered cognitive engines implementing other routines. Engines along the intersection of the frontal lobe and occipital lobe appear to be primarily involved in the generation of neural signals to control the body. They can be considered implementation engines.

    III.  The bandwidth of the signal paths within an engine are very high

    Many neural paths in the peripheral neural system consist of a single nerve carrying vord-serial/bit-serial information. However, many neural paths within the central nervous system, and some peripheral signal processing engines, employ multiple nerves in parallel to provide word-serial/bit-parallel information. The capacity of word-serial/bit-parallel paths is much higher.

    The bandwidth of the majority of the skeletal and sensory nervous system is apparently limited by the tradeoff between signal bandwidth and signal transmission velocity with the instantaneous availability of electrical power as a parameter.

    The bandwidth of the neural paths within the individual engines of the cortex, and possibly other portions of the brain are not limited by the above constraint (although inter-communications paths are).

    Because of the extremely short signal paths found within a given engine, the limiting signal bandwidth of a circuit can be very high. This allows the signal processing within an engine to proceed at a much higher, and asynchronous, rate than in the peripheral and interconnecting nervous system. Although not quantified to date, the noise spectrum associated with the background obtained when recording signals from the cortex suggest the maximum rate may be on the order of a megahertz or higher.

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