venerdì 5 agosto 2011

The human brain to the limit. "No more intelligent than this"

The human mind weighs little, but consumes nearly a fifth of the energy it takes the whole body. Therefore, according to a study of Cambridge, has stopped growing. Indeed, even likely to regress. ALESSANDRA Baduel

LONDON - There is a limit to the intelligence and we have reached: the more you can not, we consume too much energy and have more space in my head. The thesis is the University of Cambridge, where science has concluded that the human species has reached a "plateau" above the cognitive with nothing.

So end the hopes of being a species that is still evolving, destined to become something better, at least as regards the brilliance of thought and its capabilities.

The barriers that lead to this conclusion are two. A illustrates the Sunday Times Simon Laughlin, professor of neurobiology, author of Work-life meet, work meets life. "We have shown that, to function, the brain needs to expend energy to a large extent, just as the heart. It is so great a need to limit our performance."

This is because the human brain, while weighing two percent of our body absorbs 20 percent of energy, and the cells of the cerebral cortex, which have a central role in the activity of reasoning, are among those that require more. "For deep powers of deduction - explains neurobiologist - need a lot, because the brain has to find new links between information from sources that are also completely different. All this means that there is a
limit to the amount of news that we can process. "

The other barrier is due to two causes: the miniaturization of the brain cells and increase the connections between cell and cell - the key with which evolution has pushed forward the understanding - both arrived at a tipping point. The cells can not become physically smaller, and the connections do not have the space to grow. Neuroscientists have long known that the brain is divided into ten modules, each of which is responsible for different functions, such as sight or movement.

The modules are connected by bundles of nerve fibers and some believe that intelligence is the result of the efficiency of these connections. The psychiatrist Ed Bullmore, who also teaches at Cambridge, has measured the efficiency with which different parts of the brain communicate with each other, discovering that the pulses are faster in intelligent and brilliant people, and slow in those less gifted.

"The high integration of brain networks - Bullmore says the Sunday Times - seems to be associated with a high IQ." Other researchers have measured the nerve and found again that the more developed ones, that is more interconnected brains, are in the most intelligent people.

The good news is that we understand how evolution has improved our ability to speculation, but there is this incredible amount of energy needed to give birth to an idea. "For the intelligence you pay a price," concludes Bullmore. Meanwhile, the Clinical Center of Utrecht, the Netherlands, comes another confirmation. Martijn van den Heuvel, professor of psychiatry, studies how the brain changes in the plant affect the IQ. "I confirm: to increase the power of the brain would require a disproportionate increase in energy. Making predictions about the distant future is risky, but it is clear that there are strong limits to further development."

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