By Shelly Fan – Re-Blogged From Singularity Hub
Neurons are a collective bunch. Although each neuron receives, processes, and passes on information individually, the electrical spikes only make sense when melded together in waves of oscillating activity. Like an orchestra, the notes played from each neuron matter. But only when they synchronize in specific ways do single notes transform into the music of thought, memories, and actions.
By studying animals, scientists have long known that even extremely young brains—say, those still in the mother’s womb—gradually generate neural oscillations as they mature. Genetic mutations that disrupt this synchronicity causes the melody to falter, leading to neurodevelopmental problems including autism, epilepsy, or schizophrenia. Yet those ideas remain educated guesses, mostly because it’s impossible to monitor a developing human fetus’s brain.