Posted On March 12, 2007
This bit of news really interests me because it seems some sounds seem to affect me more than they should–as in why do I like this band more than that one, or why do some sounds soothe while others irritate? If this research is correct, I can see it having wild implications down the road. Instead of going in for surgery, you might go in to get your body re-tuned to proper frequencies, or if you did need surgery, you might have sonic anaesthesia (good name for a band).
Some scientists think the solids in the universe precipitated or condensed out of the plasma after the big bang based on echoes of that and subsequent explosions. And some believe those echos are still rolling around. I’ve always been interested in the role sound plays in matter/energy transformations, maybe because of the way I feel sound.
Sound has rules that seem to affect us at really fundamental levels, such as why we’re so attracted to the interactions within the pentatonic scale, and of course, Logos, or the “word which became flesh” means there’s likely something to do with sound in our earliest myths. And it the end, we’re all probably illusions as seperate beings–what we really are is maybe a series of interconnected standing waves….
Nerves Use Sound
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.”
Heimburg, an expert in biophysics who received his PhD from the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen, Germany — where biologists and physicists often work together in a rare arrangement — developed the theory with Copenhagen University’s Andrew Jackson, an expert in theoretical physics.
According to the traditional explanation of molecular biology, an electrical pulse is sent from one end of the nerve to the other with the help of electrically charged salts that pass through ion channels and a membrane that sheathes the nerves. That membrane is made of lipids and proteins.
Heimburg and Jackson theorize that sound propagation is a much more likely explanation. Although sound waves usually weaken as they spread out, a medium with the right physical properties could create a special kind of sound pulse or “soliton” that can propagate without spreading or losing strength.
The physicists say because the nerve membrane is made of a material similar to olive oil that can change from liquid to solid through temperature variations, they can freeze and propagate the solitons.
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.
The researchers could not immediately be reached for comment.