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The pursuit of an understanding of the base machinery of the mind led early researchers to anatomical exhaustion. With neuroscience now in the throes of molecular mayhem and a waning biochemical bliss, physics is spicing things up with a host of eclectic quantum, spin, and isotopic novelties. While increases in electron spin content have been linked to anesthetic effects, nuclear spins have recently been implicated in a more rarefied and subtle phenomenon— neural quantum processing.

Matthew Fisher from University of California at Santa Barbara has hashed out one scenario by which it all could work in a new paper now on the Arxiv server. He notes that while small molecules and ions would rapidly entangle with a surrounding wet environment and therefore couldn't maintain on macroscopic time scales, are exceptional in being so weakly coupled to environmental degrees of freedom that prolonged phase coherence is likely.

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