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Dr. Ioan Opris Publishes Book – The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders

Dr. Ian Opris presenting his work on the Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders
Dr. Ioan Opris Publishes Book – The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders

Ioan Opris, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at University of Miami, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and his colleague Dr. Manuel F Casanova from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, have edited and published a groundbreaking book about the physics of the mind titled The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders (Springer).

This volume endeavors to articulate recent advances that have been made toward the understanding of brain structure, functionality, and cognitive disorders based on fundamental principles of physics. A broad range of physical phenomena arise within the brain circuits that are encompassing perception, cognition, emotion, and action, being under investigation in this book. Novel insights into devastating cognitive disorders are revealed, such as schizophrenia, dementia, autism, aging, or addictions, as well as new and conceptual strategies for the potential mapping and repair of the brain.

“It must be a fascinating concert that of the mind paralleled by the brain’s physiology. I dreamed of articulating for the field this concert for forty years, and this dream became reality in this book that I co-edited with Dr. Casanova,” said Ioan Opris, Ph.D.

The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders surveys the least-probed domain of physics-related scientific resources, as applied to the multitude of aspects of the brain and its devastating disorders. An insight is provided to show how much physics may contribute to the imaging, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of the human mind/brain and to discuss brain repair strategies and the augmentation of brain functions. The crystalline structure of the brain, which consists of cortical layers, minicolumns, and microcircuits that operate concurrently with nanometric neurobiophysics, provides a foundation for understanding the myriad of functional disorders of the brain.  The book is targeted to basic researchers in the fields of neuroscience, physics, biophysics, as well as clinicians in the fields of neurology, neurosurgery, psychology, psychiatry.

“An astonishing ensemble of contributions from all corners of present knowledge regarding the relationships between brain and mind. Despite the enormous variety of subjects and methodologies it covers, from basic anatomy to spirituality, the book is eclectic in the true sense, in that it manages to reconcile them with an unprecedented integrative effort. I am full of admiration,” said Joaquín M. Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCLA Medical School.

This book will assist with enhancing the reader’s appreciation of how the brain is so intricately and elegantly interconnected to facilitate the processing of information while articulating the deleterious consequences that ensue when brain microcircuits become improperly wired.

The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders adds to the field of understanding by presenting an overarching integrated articulation of higher brain functions from combined physical and neuroscience fields, as well as from a normal versus brain disorders perspectives. The volume Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders integrates the mind’s brain functions into a novel interdisciplinary approach that bridges Physics and the Mind.

“This is a most remarkable book plowing new ground on the perennial puzzle of physics and mind. There is no stone left unturned, no field left unexplored, and no argument spared to dissipate the philosophical fog surrounding the puzzle and transform it to a researchable problem.  The treatise glows in originality, and every topic is as much groundbreaking as it is a thorough and authoritative review of the field. The new insights will cast a very long lasting influence in the years to come, with the bar set at a height difficult to surpass. But even trying to reach it, will be a fascinating journey. A constant source of inspiration and a must-read,” noted Apostolos P. Georgopoulos, MD, PhD, Regents Professor of Neurosceince, University of Minnesota.

The editors compiled this information on the Physics of the Mind to help demonstrate that the brain comprises a biophysical system that consists of hundreds of billions of elements (neurons) that are interconnected to form the connectome, neural states, or neural fields within which a voltage distribution varies across the system. The system is anatomically organized via a hierarchical architecture of cortical modules (layers and minicolumns->microcircuits), subcortical nuclei (basal ganglia, thalamus->cortical-subcortical loops), brainstem (midbrain, pons, medulla->cortical-brainstem networks), and low-level (sensory (visual, auditory, touch, smell, and taste) and motor (eye, hand, limb, and pupil dilation)) and high-level cognitive functionality (perception, awareness, memory, decision, reasoning, and language).

Further demonstrated within the book is that the fundamental laws of physics (e.g., symmetry and conservation) are involved in the emergence of the mind.  The mind is a highly complex system with minimum entropy, which operates under the principles of organized hierarchical brain dynamics.  The fine and highly complex hierarchical architectures of the brain/dynamics of the mind are subject to vulnerabilities that can lead to dysfunctional and debilitating disorders.  The book discussed that brain/mind dysfunction is exorbitantly costly, both economically and sociologically, but new brain diagnostics and therapeutics based on physics are emerging.  It recognizes that the complete elucidation of brain/mind functionality comprises the greatest challenge in science.

The Physics of the Mind and Brain Disorders is ultimately organized into 34 chapters that address not only the physical foundations and the neuroscientific aspects of the mind, but also its connection to other scientific disciplines. The book is structured in five parts, being opened in part one, by Jon H. Kaas and Suzana Herculano-Houzel’s chapter, illustrating the key features of the mind that makes the human brain special, and is followed by a formal biophysical introduction of concepts by Aurel I. Popescu and Ioan Opris.

Part two is entitled “Microcircuits and the Emergence of Mind” begins with Chapter 3 on systems approach to the emergent properties of the nervous system by Casanova and colleagues. Chapter 4 by Opris and collaborators deals with the integrated neural circuits supporting the emergence of the mind. Next, Chapter 5 presents the hierarchical circuit for executive control of movement by Brian R Noga and Ioan Opris. In Chapter 6, Liviu Bilteanu reminds us about the fundamental property of symmetry and the Noether theorem that is extended to the brain microcircuits. The breaking of the symmetry is shown for locomotion by Brian Noga and Ioan Opris in Chapter 7. In Chapter 8, Opris, Noga, Bilteanu and Casanova are showing how perturbation of symmetry breaking occurs in cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, or schizophrenia. In Chapter 9, Karl Friston’s team extends theoretical physics concepts like “gauge fields” to the central nervous system. Chapter 10 by David and Moira Steyn-Ross simulates a nonlinear dynamics aspect of the brain regulating sleep at the edge of chaos. In Chapter 11, Fujisawa provides insight into the slow oscillation mechanism of prefrontal cortex underlying local computations. Chapters 12 and 13 show two aspects of memory: the integration and selection processes over space and time in temporal cortical microcircuits by Takeda and a holographic model of information processing of neuronal microcircuits by Redozubov, respectively. Chapter 14 by Florin Dolcos and his team presents some opposing effects of emotion on cognition (perception and memory).

Part three, entitled “Disorders of the Mind”, deals with mind disorders. Chapter 15 by Andrea Cavanna presents the neural correlates of normal and impaired consciousness. An interesting scenario for assessing consciousness after rebooting from coma is discussed by Mihai Moldovan’s team in Chapter 16. In Chapter 17, Favorov and colleagues discuss the role of feedforward inhibition in neocortical information processing and the implications for neurological disorders. Chapter 18 by Steven Chance provides insight into some fundamental aspects like lateralization, aging, and disruption across the lifespan in cortical microstructures. Chapter 19 by Maria Luiza Flonta presents the building elements of the adaptive and pathological pain  neural networks.The insightful concepts of connectomics are applied by Donos and collaborators in Chapter 20 to patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Chapter 21 by Sonea and collaborators provides insights into the nutrition and addiction facets of the brain.

Part four is entitled “Towards the Implementation of the Mind” deals with the modeling, implementation, and neuro-engineering facets of the mind and brain. Chapter 22 by Diana Deca provides a model for grid cell data acquisition to hardware implementation. Chapter 23 by Sakurai and his team discusses the multipotentiality of the brain to be revisited repeatedly. Chapter 24 by Dong Song and Ted Berger shows an insightful characterization of complex brain functions with sparse nonlinear dynamical modeling. Chapter 25 by Ordikhani-Seyedlar and Lebedev illustrates how attention is controlled with neurofeedback.  Chapter 26 by Leordeanu and Sukthankar illustrates the use of multiple views for object recognition at different levels of spatiotemporal context.

Part five is entitled “Beyond the Mind’s Barriers”. Chapter 27 contributed by Jonathan Tsou discusses the pharmacology of the mind. Chapter 28 by Popovitchenko and Rasin discusses the genetics of the mind and brain disorders. Chapter 29 by Andrew Newberg provides information on the spiritual brain: science and religious experience. Chapter 30 by Diana Stanciu discusses the neurobiology of moral decision-making and embodied cognition. Chapter 31 by Predoi and his team provides insights into the animal’s mind. Chapter 32 by Zagrean’s team discusses the blood-brain barrier and the mind. Chapter 33 by Angela Domschke and Frank Bohm describes the application of a nanomedical vascular scanning nano-device to the mapping of the human brain. Chapter 34 by Iype Cherian and Margarita Beltran describes a unified physical theory for CSF circulation and cooling and cleaning of the brain in degenerative cognitive disorders.

Dr. Opris says the seeds of this book are from his mind as a young student while his brain processed Quantum Physics concepts to understand the jumps of the electrons on the atomic levels of quantified energy. He thought, what a striking analogy with the neurons in his brain’s prefrontal cortex that send spikes of action potentials across cortical layers, jumping from the supra-granular to the infra-granular layers.  Basically, the mind and brain and matter are intertwined into a game with some similar basic rules.