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Adam Zakheim's picture

thoughts on the "positive-feedback" loop

The concept of a “positive feedback” loop, a continuous chain of depolarization and subsequent polarization that propagates signals along nerves, makes intuitive sense when considering the tremendous amount of information our brains must interpret. Given that our brains contain roughly 1 trillion neurons organized in such a tight and cohesive fashion, the continuous cycle has to exist in order to process the functions of such a complex, interconnected system. I find it amazing that our brains are capable of processing and interpreting the millions of inputs/outputs generated by the various types of neurons. The fact that the inter-neurons represent 99.9% of total neural cells also makes this idea of a “positive-feedback” loop more palatable. It seems to me that our brains are like computers, in the sense that they both generate an enormous amount of work. Yet, a computer can overheat if it is overworked. So, how does our brain deal with the constant influx of inputs/outputs? How does our body prevent this system from becoming overwhelmed? What mechanisms are in place to check the improper function of an individual “kink-in-the-chain?”

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