How the second law of thermodynamics assists the study of the brain

The second law of thermodynamics assists the study of the brain

The key idea of ​​thermodynamics is used to extract the arrow of time in brain signals to capture the level of interaction between the brain and the environment. Credits: Communications Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-03505-7

Albert Einstein explained the following in his Autobiographical Notes of 1949: “A theory is more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different things it relates, and the more expanded its area of ​​applicability. Therefore the deep impression that classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced will never be overthrown, within the framework of applicability of its basic concepts.”

The principles of thermodynamics are applicable to any system. From the understanding of engines, chemical reactions, the expansion of the universe or black holes, to the study of brain states

Researchers at UPF’s Computational Neuroscience Group at the Center for Brain and Cognition (CBC), in collaboration with universities in Argentina, Australia, China, Europe and the United Kingdom, have recently published a study in which they show how the second law of thermodynamics has helped them understand and generate a robust biomarker to distinguish brain states.

“For many years, our group has been studying how the dynamics of the brain change in different states, for example, between sleep and wakefulness and active cognitive activity, or during a coma, or in patients with neurological diseases,” explains Gustavo Deco, group director and ICREA researcher. “The underlying idea is that the brain works like an orchestra, with a conductor and section leaders (violins, wind, strings, etc.) and depending on our status, these hierarchies change and transform, and this is when we manage to distinguish things . A hierarchical system is where there are one or more zones that take

Read the rest