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Q: Brain Power (The power of a Neuron) ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Brain Power (The power of a Neuron)
Category: Science
Asked by: aa7im-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 25 Oct 2003 00:51 PDT
Expires: 23 Nov 2003 23:51 PST
Question ID: 269556
If every neuron in the brain were to "fire" simulataneously, how much
energy would be released? (For example... A typical walkie-talkie
radio can radiate 100mw of power, I just curious of the maximum power
output of a human brain)

I always hear that humans only use a small portion of their brains.
What is contained in the the "un-used" portion of the brain?  If we
did somehow utilize the "un-used" portion of the brain what abilities
would we gain (increased memory, increased cognitive abilties,
Subject: Re: Brain Power (The power of a Neuron)
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 26 Oct 2003 06:54 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
The electrical potential of the average neuron is somewhere in the
range of 60 to 70 mV. Multiply by the number of neurons, 100 billion.


Lights, Camera, Action Potential!!

Brain Facts and Figures

Number of Neurons in a Human Brain

The notion that only a small percentage of the brain is used generally
is not considered correct. Much of the brain is used for things not
directly related to conscious thought processes or is used at
different times.

Use Ten Percent % of Brain Myth (Skeptical Inquirer March 1999)

Science/10% of brain




Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 27 Oct 2003 06:48 PST
If you want the output in watts:

Converting Watts Amps Volts and Ohms
Watts = Amps x Volts

Calcium Coding and Adaptive Temporal Computation in Cortical Pyramidal

Typical is 22-29 microamperes (1 one millionith) per centimeter
Assuming an upper limit of 30 microamperes (.000003), then .007 X
.000003 = .00000021 watts per centimeter squared.

2.1 e-7 X 1 e11 = 21000 watts pcs

Obviously, this is only hypothetical. Such a discharge would require
chemical resources not available to the brain, and, even if available,
would destroy the brain.

aa7im-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
Basic.  But to the point.

Subject: Re: Brain Power (The power of a Neuron)
From: pinkfreud-ga on 26 Oct 2003 08:12 PST
Here's an interesting article on the brain's energy and computational

Personal Pages of Ralph C. Merkle: Energy Limits to the Computational
Power of the Human Brain 

Regarding the question of whether humans use only a small fraction of
our brains, I answered a similar question a few months ago. Some of
this material might be of interest to you:

Google Answers: Do We Really Only Use 10% of the Brain?
Subject: Re: Brain Power (The power of a Neuron)
From: sublime1-ga on 26 Oct 2003 09:35 PST

I'd like to address the part of your question which was overlooked.

I have a friend who is psychic who points out that, though the
'myth' states we are only 'using' 10% of our brains, which is 
easily debunked by the facts, the point that the psychics are 
(correctly) making is that we are only *conscious* of 10% of the
100% usage which is taking place. This is obvious when you simply
consider the vast amount of autonomic functions of which we are
normally unaware, which control heartrate, blood pressure, body
temperature, etc.

A yogi who becomes conscious of these mechanisms can control these
functions with ease. Likewise, all the unconscious processing of
the day's activities which normally occurs in our dreams can be
brought to the fore via meditation and utilized consciously by 
someone who opts to become more aware of their totality in this

Though I can't provide references for it, my friend also says he
had a spiritual teacher who taught that both Edison and Einstein
actively made use of techniques to utilize more of their subconscious
in their work. Edison, when he reached a stumbling block in his work,
would sit in a chair holding steel balls clutched in both hands, and
focus on the problem. When he started to drift off, his hands would
relax, dropping the balls and waking him in a hypnogogic state where
he often found his subconcious working on the solution, which he then
used. Einstein did something similar, resting on his porch with his
eyes open, fixing his gaze on a star. When the star started to move
in circles, he would focus on his question, and get information.

Though with less conscious intention, Friedrich August Kekule also
received insight from his dreams which led to the discovery of benzene

These are some of the numerous examples you can find which indicate
the increased potential represented by the art of becoming more 
conscious of what, for the average person, remains unconscious.
There are equally numerous techniques for increasing awareness in
this manner, from meditation to dream journaling to methods for 
enhancing intuition to the awakening of kundalini. 

Regarding the last, you might be interested in knowing more about
Gopi Krishna - an East Indian office worker who failed a university
entrance exam, who later took up a very concentrated form of 
meditation which resulted in a lifetime of powerful tranfomative
experiences which he understood to be the awakening of his kundalini,
or the universal life force within him. One page which details some
of his writings on this is available on this page from,
which provides biographical material for a number of so-called
saints, gurus and enlightened beings of all backgrounds:

The home page is here:


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