Archives for March 10, 2007

BritMeds 2007 (10)

NHS Blog Doctor: The BritMeds 2007 (10)

Another in the series. The tenth, if I’m not mistaken.

Hallway Four and I had the same day

…but at different locations. Read hers, I’m too ticked to type it out: You will be angry and bitter and hostile today « Hallway Four

An unsound theory

Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity

The common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity is wrong and they really transmit sound, according to a team of Danish scientists.

The Copenhagen University researchers argue that biology and medical textbooks that say nerves relay electrical impulses from the brain to the rest of the body are incorrect.

“For us as physicists, this cannot be the explanation,” said Thomas Heimburg, an associate professor at the university’s Niels Bohr Institute. “The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced.”

Hmm. I’m not buying it. Too many lectures involving micro-electrodes measuring electrical nerve impulses, and all that.

And, what about local anesthetics? Are they just sound-deadening?

The scientists, whose work is in the Biophysical Society’s Biophysical Journal, suggested that anesthetics change the melting point of the membrane and make it impossible for their theorized sound pulses to propagate.

So, anyone have a vacuum chamber and a nerve? Me, I’m sticking with the whole saltatory-conduction thing.