Cognition and Autism

Neurons distill sensory information from the body and from remembered patterns, and presents the result as thought. It is widely recognized that thought is the effect of the harmonization of synaptic firing. A group of neurons fire within a window of time, and this information is then integrated in a neuron at its Axion. Millions of these processes reacting concurrently and sequentially result in what we call conscious awareness. This process bears some similarity to how computer processors “clock” through a calculation, although brains are locally synchronous and globally asynchronous. The synchronization of synaptic firing is part of what occurs when we learn. Even mature brains can quickly make new synaptic connections, however synchronization of the timing a synaptic firing has a major influence on how these networks function. Calibrating the arrival of information from different sources withing a specific window of time is done by the Schwann Cells coating the dendrites of the neuron. Gaps between the Schwann Cells, called Nodes of Ranvier (NR), dynamically adjust the speed at which information travels down the dendrites of a neuron, so that a specific confluence of signals can ascend a triggering threshold. Adjusting the NR gaps is a very quickly adjustable, but also stable means for effectively processing information, dialing in the most effective solutions for specific tasks, and mainting the solution for future reference. LINK: SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ARTICLE ON THE RELEVANCE OF THE NODES OF RANVIER We can observe the synchronization occurring regionally in brains and describe the phenomenon as brain waves. Further discussion on Brain waves can be read here: LINK: BRAIN WAVE ENTRAINMENT LINK: NEUROFEEDBACK AS A MEANS OF ALTERING BRAIN WAVES Synchronization of neuronal activity may drop into an efficient pattern not within the normal spectrum of cognition. This article in the June 2005 issue of Science discusses Autism from the perspective of non-ordinary neuronal synchronization: LINK: AUTISTIC BRAIN OUT OF SYNCH? This UTube video beautifully documents the consequences of non-ordinary neuronal synchronization: Cognition can be modeled using topological attractors from Chaos Theory. Synchronization of synaptic firing, in searching for the most effective solution to a cognition problem, will coalesce  in a dip in a plane of energy expenditure (Z) vs field of possible solutions (X,Y).  From the material presented here, Autism, as well as many other cognitive challenges, can be viewed as non-ordinary dips in this plane. From this model, changing cognition and perception requires either climbing the energy barrier back onto the plane (therapy) or tunneling through to a more efficient dip (miracle / Quantum Mechanics).