Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity

The common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity is wrong and they really transmit sound, according to a team of Danish scientists.

The Copenhagen University researchers argue that biology and medical textbooks that say nerves relay electrical impulses from the brain to the rest of the body are incorrect.

“For us as physicists, this cannot be the explanation,” said Thomas Heimburg, an associate professor at the university’s Niels Bohr Institute. “The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced.”

Full Story: CBC.

(via Robot Wisdom).


  1. that’s mental. I really don’t understand where they are comming from. I’ve seen a demonstration with squid axons and the electrical action potential has been measured.

    I’ve also seen dead animal limbs animated by electrical impulses.

  2. I don’t really get it either. It’s been established science for nearly a century, yeah? But hey, why *don’t* we generate heat from all these electrical signals.

  3. yeah, WTF, eh?
    i’m no goddamn scientist but i thought the electrical bs was facilitated by chemical ion transfer or whatever they call it, it’s not like goddamn electricity coursing across a conductor with all that resistance, etc.

    maybe i’m just daft, however.

  4. I’m a pretty piss poor student, but my understanding of the affair is that nerves realease transmiter substances upon a obtaining a certain electrical voltage. This is caused by ion concentrations either side of a membrane creating a ‘voltage’.
    In wires electrical charge is carried by highly charged electrons. As these electrons move through a wire the resistance in a wire caused heat as the electrons lose their energy.

    So it’s not really the same because the charge in a neuron is made by changing concentrations of ions. Which obviously would not be suspected to produce heat.

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