Scientists believe our brains could use quantum computation. They reached this conclusion after adapting an idea developed in order to prove the existence of quantum gravity.
Adapting an idea developed to prove the existence of quantum gravity, scientists believe our brains could use quantum computation. Quantum processes are also part of cognitive and conscious brain functions, based on correlations between measured brain functions and short-term memory performance. It would broaden our understanding of how the brain works and potentially improve our ability to maintain or even heal it if the team’s results could be confirmed. This would likely be done with advanced multidisciplinary approaches. Moreover, they may contribute to developing even more advanced quantum computers by discovering innovative technologies.
The findings were published in the Journal of Physics Communications. Dr. Christian Kerskens, a lead physicist at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), coauthored the study. As he explained, they took known quantum systems, which interact with an unknown quantum system, and adapted an idea developed for experiments to prove quantum gravity exists. If the known systems entangle, the unknown must also be a quantum system. This method circumvents the difficulty of finding measuring devices for something we do not know. The experiments were carried out using proton spins of ‘brain water’ as the known system, according to Dr. Kerskens. Brain water accumulates in our brains naturally as fluid, and proton spins can be measured with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
Scientists discovered MRI signals that closely resemble heartbeat-evoked potentials, a form of EEG when we used an MRI design for finding entangled spins. EEGs measure currents in the brain. Scientists believe they could only observe the heartbeat evoked potentials because nuclear proton spins in the brain were entangled. Typically electrophysiological potentials are not detectable with MRI scans. It would have been necessary for brain processes to interact with the nuclear spins to facilitate the entanglement between the nuclear spins if entanglement is the only possible explanation. Dr. Kerskens explained that as a result, scientists can conclude those brain functions must be quantum in nature.
As these brain functions are associated with short-term memory performance and conscious awareness, it’s possible they play a role in cognitive and conscious functions as well. It could also explain why our brains still outperform supercomputers when it comes to making decisions, learning new skills, or dealing with unexpected situations.