The Brain’s Dark Energy

Just as there is dark energy in the universe, there is dark energy in our own brain. It is dark because it is of unknown origin.

Brain imaging results suggest that the brain works harder when it is daydreaming than when it performs a specific task, but we don’t exactly know why. This is interesting if we agree that the wandering mind is fertile ground for creative or breakthrough ideas and concepts.

Specific activities such as gardening, taking a shower, cutting the grass etc, may bring an idea to consciousness, but if we are doing too many activities there may be no excess or spare energy available for the brain to use in the act of creativity. This may be why multi-tasking, external pressure, stress, etc., inhibits creativity.

Using brain imaging techniques to look at brain connectivity when the brain is not performing any task should lead to a better understanding of the brain’s dark energy and help us characterize pathological conditions. If we let the subjects brain wander and we perform fMRI and we do statistical analysis using Independent Component Analysis and Seed Based Correlations, we will be able to show a functional network map which should be characteristic of a specific brain condition. Here is a citation related to this topic:

Zhang D, et al., Disease and the brain’s dark energy, Nature Reviews Neurology, 2010, 6 15-28

Adolfo Cotter, MD

Mar 2/2010

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