Neurothermodynamics

In thermodynamics, neurothermodynamics or "neurological thermodynamics" studies neuronal operations and processes generally, with the neuron considered as the thermodynamic system, from an energy and entropy perspective, with emphasis on information transmission, neurometabolism, and neurodynamics.

Etymology
The term “neurothermodynamics” seems to have been introduced in 2002 by Indian-born English physician Prasun Roy and his group, who use terms such as “neurodynamic temperature” or “neurodynamic entropy”, among others. [1] Roy even formulates a third law of neurothermodynamics: “a neuron’s trans-information parameter asymptotically tends to a maximum, as its neurodynamics temperature approaches 0ºN.” [2]

Overview
Readings on the subject of “neuro-thermodynamics”, at present, come across as one of the more convoluted and hodgepodge braches of thermodynamics. Examples include purported neuronal operations based on Nicolis-Prigogine principle “fourth laws”, Shannon principle “second laws”, mixed with “third law” attempts at formulating a “neural absolute zero” temperature scale (with references to analogues of neuro-type zero point energies), among others. [3] These somewhat humorous attempts can be attributed to the mixing of two black-box sciences, thermodynamics and neuroscience.

The 2009 article “The Thermodynamics of Human Reaction Times” by French cognitive psychologist Fermin Martin’s is an example of this, wherein a crude attempt is made to consider the mind as a “cognitive system”, analogous to a thermodynamic system, and to explain human reaction times based on the works of Leon Brillouin, Claude Shannon, Jack Kirkaldy, and Edwin Jaynes, using a mixture of discussions on negentropy, logarithms, information, noise, and so on, all of which amounts to be nonsensical. [4]

See also
Neurochemical thermodynamics

References
1. Prasun Kumar Roy – NBRC Faculty.
2. Non-equilibrium Neurodynamics (PDF), 19-pages, Power Point Presentation by P.K. Roy.
3. Tomlin, Claire J., and Greenstreet, Mark R. (2002). Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control : 5th International Workshop, HSCC 2002, Stanford, CA, USA, March 25-27, 2002 : Proceedings (A Control Analysis of Neuronal Information Processing: A Study of Electrophysiological Experimentation and Non-equilibrium Information Theory, section: 6 Neurothermodynamics: Toward a Rigorous Basis, pgs. 200-03, by Prasun K. Roy, John P. Miller, and D. Dutta Majumder). Springer.
4. Martin, Fermin. (2009). “The Thermodynamics of Human Reaction Times”, Arxiv, Aug. 23.

Further reading
● Furman, Mark E. and Gallo, Fred P. (2000). The Neurophysics of Human Behavior: Exploring the Interface of the Brain, Mind, Behavior, and Information (chapter 3: Hidden Order and the Origins of Pattern: Thermodynamics, Pattern, and the Human Brain, pgs. 41-80). CRC Press.
● Salerian, Alen J. (2009). “Thermodynamic Laws Apply to Brain Function”, Medical Hypotheses.

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