Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity

By CBC News Mar 09, 2007 7:13 PM ET

Copenhagen University researchers say that nerves transmit impulses through sound, not through electricity as text books say. They note the experimental observation that no heat is generated from impulses traveling through nerves–– a contradiction against thermodynamic laws if electricity is indeed the nature of the impulses. Researchers Heimburg and Jackson theorize that sound propagation through a special kind of sound pulse called “soliton” is a much more likely explanation. In a medium with the right physical properties, such as the oil-like nerve membrane which can transition between liquid and solid phase through temperature variations, solitons can propagate without spreading or losing strength. This research is published in Biophysical Journal.

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