Did you know that our brain can store as much data as is available on the entire internet? A new research conducted by neuroscientists suggests that our brain’s capacity is ten times more than earlier thought. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California measured the links between brain cells and then equated them to bytes, the units of computer memory. Their findings were phenomenal. The human brain can store more than quadrillion bytes of information.
Synaptic Links determine storage
Terry Sejnowski, a lead author of the study said in a press release as quoted by Forbes,
“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.”
When a chunk of a rat’s brain tissue was examined, scientists found that the composition was far more complex than ever thought. They discovered that the amount the brain can store is largely dependent on the strength of the synaptic links between its neurons. Synapses are chemical junctions where information is transmitted.
The Brain’s extensive Storage Capacity
Synaptic size can vary can vary across a wide spectrum. This is because neurons have spine-like protrusions called dendrites that enable cells to make multiple synaptic connections. Scientists found 26 variants of spine sizes which equates the brain’s storage capacity to 4.7 bits per synapse. When that figure is multiplied by the number of synapses, the storage capacity reaches an unprecedented magnitude!
Neurons, Synapses, Action Potentials, and Neurotransmission
From Consortium on Cognitive Science Instruction
The central nervous system [CNS] is composed entirely of two kinds of specialized cells: neurons and glia. Hence, every information processing system in the CNS is composed of neurons and glia; so too are the networks that compose the systems (and the maps).
New Estimate Boosts the Human Brain’s Memory Capacity 10-Fold
From Scientific American
We know that the human brain is made up of about 100 billion neurons, and that each one makes 1,000 or more connections to other neurons, adding up to some 100 trillion in total. We also know that the strengths of these connections, or synapses, are regulated by experience.