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Watch The Brain Join Internet In The Petabyte League

Update Date: Jan 23, 2016 04:37 PM EST
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The brain is now officially in the league of the World Wide Web in terms of data size. A new study claims the organ can store information in the petabyte range. That is 1,000 terabytes.

According to The Huffington Post, researchers at Salk Institute in California have been estimated that variation in the synaptic space is much smaller than previously thought. Synapses are junctions between two neurons. A smaller variation implies a bigger range of synaptic spaces, which in turn translates into a greater ability to store information. The researchers found that inter-synaptic space varied only by 8 percent.

For the study, researchers analyzed the hippocampus portion of a rat's brain. What they learnt later helped them with computer simulations of the human brain. The finding of the variations in synaptic sizes was a surprise, according to Gizmodo.

"We were amazed to find that the difference in the sizes of the pairs of synapses were very small, on average, only about eight percent different in size. No one thought it would be such a small difference. This was a curveball from nature," said study author Thomas Bartol.

Synapses tend to adjust themselves according to signals received. This adjustment lends the brain its precision in its performance.

"This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience," says Terry Sejnowski, the paper's co-senior author of the paper. "We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain's memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web."

The study was published in the journal eLife.

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