Functional MRI (fMRI) is still one of the most popular methods to study the ageing brain. Getting older affects both the structure of the brain and our cognitive capabilities but there is still no solid evidence on how ageing influences the mechanisms underlying the fMRI signal. Here, we apply a recently developed fMRI-based sequence that was found to be sensitive to quantum fluctuations in the brain. We show that not only these fluctuations can be detected and measured, but also that they are affected by age. While comparing young and old participants, we found qualitative and quantitative evidence that the dynamics of these quantum fluctuations undergo strong changes with age. Finally, we show how differences in these quantum fluctuations relate with measures from different cognitive batteries, suggesting that these quantum fluctuations may be key for cerebral dynamics and cognitive functioning. The profound sensitivity for dynamic changes shows the potential of this physiological effect with clinical relevance for all neuro-vascular diseases.
We report observations of cardiac-evoked long-range zero quantum coherence (ceZQC) in human brain tissue which were not accompanied by an alternation of short-range quantum coherence. For every cardiac pulsation, ceZQC emerged over the entire brain tissue for a period of 270 ± 180 ms. We observed this quantum effect in 40 human volunteers, if and only if they were awake. This link to conscious awareness suggests that the information held in the long-range quantum phenomenon is used and manipulated in conscious-related computation.
For many years, it has been speculated that consciousness and cognition could be the based on quantum information (Atmanspacher 2015) which opposes the view that quantum coherence, the primary basis of quantum computing (Nielsen 2010), cannot survive in complex biological systems (Koch 2006, Tegmark 2000). However, recent findings in photosynthesis (Engel 2007, Collini 2010) have challenged this view suggesting that only long-range quantum coherence between molecules can account for its efficiency in light-harvesting. Here, we investigated if long-range quantum coherence may also play a decisive role in brain function. We found surprisingly that the cardiac pressure pulse evoked zero-quantum coherence (iZQC) (Warren 1998) which were by a magnitude higher than theoretically expected. From this finding, we concluded that underlying physiological process is - cautiously speaking - of an unknown macroscopic non-classical kind. The process reveals it importance by it temporal appearance; during consciousness it is highly synchronized with the cardiac pulse, while during sleep, no or only sporadic iZQC could be detected. This findings suggest that this non-classical phenomenon is most likely a necessity for consciousness.