A group of researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California have discovered that the human brain is capable of storing more information than was previously believed, a LOT more. According to Terry Sejnowski, one of the researchers, the new measurements put the data storage capacity of the human brain at more than a petabyte, which is ten times more than was previously believed, and is nearly enough to store the entirety of the World Wide Web. Next time you stop and think about insanely massive the Internet is, just remember that you possess the ability to store all of that information in your brain.
The human brain’s memory capacity may be as much as 10 times larger than previously thought, according to a new study by scientists in California that looked at how hippocampal neurons in the brain function with low energy but high computational power. “This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” said Terry Sejnowski from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. “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.” The researchers built a 3D reconstruction of rat hippocampus tissue – the memory centre of the brain – and in doing so, discovered something strange. Synapses, the junctions that form between neurons, were being duplicated in about 10 percent of cases. To measure the differences between these duplicate synapses, Sejnowski’s team reconstructed the connectivity, shapes, volumes, and surface area of the rat brain tissue at a nano-molecular level, using advanced microscopy and computational algorithms. “We were amazed to find that the difference in the sizes of the pairs of synapses were very small, on average, only about 8 percent different in size,” said Tom Bartol, one of the scientists. “No one thought it would be such a small difference. This was a curveball from nature.”