How many electrical sparks occur in the brain, on average, per minute and at what structures do they occur? For the "how many" figure, I would be happy to have ranges here from relaxed to excited states.

I have heard estimations in the thousands to billions. Further I have heard some postulation that sparks actually occur at the synaptic cleft by way of the ionization that is created in this space - eg the ionization creates a directed channel for electrical spark channeling. I realize that it is believed that the electrical impulses travel down the axons, but it appears that there indeed is a point of true spark when the gaps are encountered and I would like to see some clarification and research on this if possible.


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  • $\begingroup$ what is a "spark" $\endgroup$ – jona Nov 6 '15 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ Can you properly define the thing you're asking about? $\endgroup$ – jona Nov 6 '15 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Where did you hear estimates in the "thousands"? I started playing around with this and am already easily over a trillion. $\endgroup$ – Chelonian Nov 7 '15 at 23:35
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    $\begingroup$ @ylluminate Based on a figure of ~86 billion neurons per adult brain (theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/feb/28/…) * 0.29 (aiimpacts.org/rate-of-neuron-firing) "sparks" (action potentials) a second * 60 secs = 1.5 trillion. But I stopped there, too daunted to try to count all smaller voltage changes. But...given there may be, say, 100 trillion (human-memory.net/brain_neurons.html) synapses, and if all had a 90% failure rate, and followed the 0.29AP/s rate, you're looking at another 17.4 quadrillion events a minute?! $\endgroup$ – Chelonian Nov 8 '15 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Chelonian that sounds like an answer! $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Nov 9 '15 at 3:02