Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cognitive enhancement through longer Schwann cells

Do faster thinkers have longer Schwann cells? Evolution has optimized human brain signal transmission in the existing machinery. Schwann cells (nerve cells) are punctuated with Nodes of Ranvier, unwrapped spaces that occur regularly on axons between the myelin sheaths that wrap and insulate the axons. The Nodes of Ranvier make signal transmission faster and conserve energy.

While Schwann cells may be the minimal length for the selection processes of evolution, they may not be optimized for modern thought. In many cases, modern thought constitutes more reasoning, imagining, conceptualizing, and contemplation than fight or flight responses. Different brain patterns arise from the different kinds of thought. One path to cognitive enhancement could be lengthening Schwann cells for faster transmission and possibly faster cognition.

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