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Biomedical Reviews

Quantum interactive dualism: From Beck and Eccles tunneling model of exocytosis to molecular biology of SNARE zipping

Danko Georgiev, James F. Glazebrook


We commence this review by outlining the challenges faced by physical theories of consciousness and briefly describe the two main approaches based on classical or quantum mechanics. Next, we provide a detailed exposition of the motivation, the theoretical construction and experimental falsification of the celebrated model due to Beck and Eccles concerning mind-brain interaction purported to operate at the sites of neurotransmitter release in the brain. Finally, we propose our own model of a vibrationally assisted quantum tunneling mechanism involving a Davydov soliton propagating along the hydrogen bonds in the protein four-α-helix bundle of the SNARE complex (soluble NSF attachment protein receptor; NSF, N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion proteins) that drives synaptic vesicle fusion. We also discuss the possible experimental tests that could falsify our model. Since erasure of consciousness by volatile anesthetics results from binding to the hydrophobic core of the SNARE four-α-helix bundle, our model is well suited to support quantum interactive dualism.

Biomedical Reviews 2014; 25: 15-24.

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About The Authors

Danko Georgiev
University of Pittsburgh
United States

Postdoctoral researcher, Department of environmental and occupational health, Graduate school of public health

James F. Glazebrook
Eastern illinois university
United States

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

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