Entangled Neurons?

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Microtubuli in a fixated cel

If you look closely, quantum entanglement can be found almost everywhere. Quantum entanglement says that objects, however small or big, that were once in contact with each other, share a common state wave and that the observation of one of those objects has an immediate effect on the state wave of the other objects. Can we encounter quantum entanglement in everyday life? Good question. I think so.

Microchimerism in mothers

In the Scientific American of 2013, I come across an article that says that the unborn child’s cells can enter the mother’s body through the placenta to live there for many years. There is no immune response by the mother’s body to this. The phenomenon has been given the name microchimerism. The SA article describes in detail how neuronal brain cells can enter the mother’s brain and then live on for decades. However, the researchers are in the dark about the biological reason for this phenomenon.

‘In this new study, scientists observed that microchimeric cells are not only found circulating in the blood, they are also embedded in the brain. They examined the brains of deceased women for the presence of cells containing the male “Y” chromosome. They found such cells in more than 60 percent of the brains and in multiple brain regions. Since Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies, they suspected that the number of fetal cells would be greater in women with AD compared to those who had no evidence for neurological disease. The results were precisely the opposite: there were fewer fetal-derived cells in women with Alzheimer’s. The reasons are unclear.’

White blood cells love playboy girls

Then I jump to an at first sight unrelated topic. I will discuss therefore briefly the controversial research of Cleve Backster, a top specialist in the use of the polygraph. In a playful mood, Backster hooked a polygraph up to a plant to see if the polygraph would show anything when he watered the plant. This gave no discernible response. But when he considered burning a leaf of the plant with his lighter, the polygraph, and therefore the plant, responded violently. His interest was immediately piqued and he continued to do polygraph experiments with all kinds of living organisms throughout his further career. In one of his later experiments, he collected white blood cells from a subject’s mouth, and hooked these somehow up to the polygraph. The subject then leafs – in the meantime – through a Playboy lying on the table next to him and hits on the centre fold picturing Bo Derek. The polygraph responded immediately with a maximum swing of the writing stylus. Apparently the white blood cells , though not physically linked to the subject’s body, were still linked to the subject emotions!

Polygraph result showing the reaction of white blood cells, taken from the subjects’ mouth, to the subject viewing the Playboy Bo Derek centrefold. From ‘The secret life of Plants’.

This is in my opinion entanglement in action.

Entangled living cells

When I connect those two stories – neural cells of their children in mother brains and white blood cells that respond to an emotional event that takes place in the organism they have come from –, then the reason for the microchimerism in mother brains should become clear. If there is a reaction to an alarming situation in the child’s brain, the “entangled” neurons in the mother brain will also fire. The mother receives thus a signal that something serious is going on with her child and that she must intervene quickly. The reports about such maternal instinctive red flag actions are countless. You may still remember stories by your own mother.

Quantum entanglement and information transfer

Now I have spoken here about entangled neurons that apparently can fire in response to each other. That is actually information transfer through quantum entanglement. That’s something Einstein protested vehemently as it would violate his laws of relativity. ‘Spooky Action at a Distance‘. Quantum entanglement has been demonstrated convincingly and repeatedly by many Bell experiments, however, and is now widely accepted. It is even an essential feature used in quantum computing. The Bell experimenters have even been awarded a Nobel Prize. However, quantum physicists explicitly state that quantum entanglement cannot be used for data transfer because the collapse of the quantum state by a measurement (the quantum collapse) is fundamentally unpredictable. We can’t influence the unpredictable outcome of the measurement on the entangled objects.

Descartes again?

Drawing by Descartes how the immaterial mind connects to the pineal gland

The quantum observer effect has also been investigated in parapsychological experiments. The question there was whether people can influence the results of a quantum experiment. The outcome in many of these experiments is affirmative, often with a significance that is even higher than the confirmation of the existence of the Higgs particle. So, this could answer the question that has been asked since Descartes: can an immaterial mind influence matter – the body – and vice versa. Such an influence however goes against generally accepted scientific dogmas, notably the conservation laws of energy. A reason for many to reject Cartesian dualism.

But if we were to allow that possibility, interesting new perspectives would open up in the study of consciousness. Move your index finger and then wonder how it is possible that this movement is created by your thought. The classic orthodox answer to that question is the computer metaphor that is used by neuroscientists. According to them, your brain is an extremely complex advanced parallel processing computer that also generates your consciousness and thus your thoughts. So also the nerve signal to your index finger. Problem solved. Oh yeah, really?

The observer effect has been demonstrated

However, this vision of neuroscience is strongly contradicted by the observer effect in quantum physics. Matter does not exist prior to observation. This has been confirmed by multiple Bell type and Delayed Choice experiments. These confirm that an observation is required for the materialization of matter in a measurement. Since the observer is needed for the manifestation of matter, it is unlikely that matter will produce conscious observers and then manifest itself recursively.

If we can recognize the possibility that the observing mind can also influence the reduction of the state wave – the quantum collapse – then perhaps we can apply the Orchestrated Objective Reduction hypothesis of Penrose and Hameroff where consciousness is a product of the quantum collapse in microtubules (microscopic structures in living cells) in our neurons, but then in the reversed direction. Consciousness is then able, through the influence of the quantum collapse in these microtubules, to control the firing or the not firing of the neuron.

Thus moves my thought my index finger. And mothers are warned that their child is in danger. Magnificent.