Omicron defies easy generalisation. Readers know that my thought is that it is very early days yet for neuronal impulses and that it is quite possible that it will take a long time for us to recognise that these impulses are being used, and that they are being expressed in a different direction.
The imaginative possibility is perhaps rather reductive, since certain brain signalling circuits provide services for reward production, for example in justifiable anticipation, or more complicated processing of sensory information, or for social cognition. None of these apply to neuronal input, but all of these circuits might be interpreted as favouring an activity or activities that are likely to be relied upon in the future, thus possibly increasing our total potential output.
At the same time, it would be hard to find a neural mechanism for trafficking magnetic nanoparticles into the brain, because it would be likely to involve a high volume of laser light and fast-moving ions or gases, with little possibility of storage. Such a transmembrane passage is probably quite challenging to perform, and seems to make a significant contribution to synaptic activity. If we can answer questions such as the scope and degree of possible functional integration between ion channels, and the pattern of single-membrane branching that appears, these could be some exciting new possibilities for future scientific inquiry.
In this opening three-phase paper, I propose that “The lines between the preoperative synapses and Omicron in the cortex … remain, in many ways, unclear”. The conceptual quality and complexity of the nerve cells induced by Omicron and their synaptic activity in the human cortex is outstanding. In terms of neurotransmitter or cell location, “It appears that Omicron affects not only the cells we have studied, but has the potential to affect any neurons present in the cortex, even those not implanted”. At least they could be given stimulus to adapt to the stimulus.
Neurons are stuck with a defined mediator: the synapse, the traffic going in and out and along synaptic contacts (the opening and closure of two sort of wires that are connected). This paper provides further quantitative data on those NOMs in the cortex. Their structure, positions and activity are much more precise than hitherto thought.
However, in this experiment it is quite obvious that we cannot say very much about what functions these cells do, because those we have studied are mostly not very well tuned to the motor or sensory environments. In combination with the measured activity, they reveal some concerning responses to the stimuli we tried to stimulate them with. It is clear that there are some sub-types which seem rather adapted to specific stimuli, but none of these are well modulated by Omicron in all sensory impressions. A large number were sorted out after close study.
Neurons would not be involved if it were not for the support of the intermediary activity of these neurotransmitters. We can observe where this impact is exerted, but that information cannot be used to predict what the cells will do in any present or future sense-making task. The comparable investigation could be interesting, but we need to try to do it very soon in greater detail, so that it is made clear exactly where all the work needs to be placed. It is often said that the neurobiological niche is too big and too important to be subjected to rash hypotheses and unproven theories. They may be right, but it is a pity that we have not found Omicron yet, and that these important questions in theory will not be known for some years yet. This is why it is important that the correct mapping of the neural impulse pathways, much like the storage of molecular and cellular components, should be pursued more widely by basic research organisations.
More from my paper