Thursday, March 14, 2013

Not all citations are desirable

Surely, getting cited is always a good thing.
No, it depends who cites you and why.

In 2009 I was co-author of a paper in PNAS which has already attracted more than 40 citations. This might sound impressive to some. The problem is that none of the papers look like worth reading. Some represent the quackery that the PNAS paper is debunking.

What really got my attention though was the paper below published in an Elsevier journal. I urge you to start to read the paper and tell me what you think.

Nonlocal neurology: Beyond localization to holonomy
G.G. Globus and C.P. O’Carroll
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine,
University of California Irvine

Is this for real?
Would you recommend these psychiatrists to your loved ones?


  1. Wow: the abstract alone is worth the price of admission!
    "The development of quantum brain theory with it nonlocal mechanisms under the law of the whole (“holonomy”) offers new possibilities for explaining disintegration within unity. Dissipative quantum brain dynamics and its approach to the binding problem, memory and consciousness are presented."

    Ross, I need to read your PNAS paper, but I had a conversation with Brian Josephson (via email) regarding this topic a few years back. My argument against a "quantum brain" was (and still is) that any neural process involves an electron transfer through a biological membrane. If the process were to be coherent (and collective), that coherence time must be faster than the time-scale for the formation of polarons (i.e. dielectric relaxation time of a charge in water) and the time-scale of the coherence time for an excited electronic state--which using the solvated e- in water as an primitive example--is between 4-10fs. So, unless neural processes occur on a timescale of fs, the brain can not be in a quantum superposition. Also, suppose there's a process that's driving some sort of quantum phase transition within the brain. Then, you'd have to have some sort of microwave or radiowave source like a cavity mode, driving the collective transition (like in the Dicke model). In essence, you'd cook your brain--which may be happening to the authors of this paper!

    1. Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your comment.
      I agree with your arguments.
      Your first argument is similar to the physics of decoherence reviewed by Joel Gilmore and I

      Your second argument is similar to one of the main points of the PNAS paper.

  2. 1) It's in Medical Hypotheses - an non-peer reviewed journal famous for publishing articles pushing AIDS denialism. See

    2) It's in an Elsevier journal. cf.

    1. Thanks for the helpful background information. I was unaware of the "status" of the journal.

    2. According to Wikipedia, Elsevier announced in June 2010 that all articles would be peer reviewed.