Midbrain dopamine neurons control judgment of time

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Science  09 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6317, pp. 1273-1277
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5234

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  • RE: An Artificial Humoral-Neural Network with Internal Clock
    • Cedric Fan, professor, MIT Information Quality Program- Data Quality & Info Security Lab, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing, 210009, China
    • Other Contributors:
      • Amanda Cao, Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 9BB, UK

    In their REPORT “Midbrain dopamine neurons control judgment of time” (Science 9 December 2016: Vol. 354 no. 6317 pp. 1273) and the PERSPECTIVE “Why does time seem to fly when we're having fun?” (Science 9 December 2016: Vol. 354 no. 6317 pp. 1231), Soares et al. (1) (2) found that in midbrain dopamine-secreting neurons, increased dopamine release speeds up an animal’s subjective sense of time—its internal clock.

    The finding is very useful and can be used for a kind of artificial humoral-neural networks, where the humor can have effect on the internal clock, the thresholds and the inputs of the nerve cells. Such as the local anesthetic can have an interdiction effect to all the nerve cells, no matter the peripheries or the centers, the afferent neurons or the efferent neurons, neuraxons or cytosomes, peripheral nerves or synapses. These effects include the increase of thresholds of excitation, the decrease of action potential and conduction velocity, the prolongation of refractory period and even the complete loss of the excitability and the conductibility. At the same time, the dopamine of the midbrain can also directly or indirectly affect the humor environment with the surprise signal function.

    This kind of artificial humoral-neural networks with internal clock can be applied to many optimization problems.

    1 Sofia Soares et al. , Science 354, 6317 (2016).
    2 Patrick Simen, Matthew Matell, Science 354, 6317 (2016).

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    Competing Interests: None declared.