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How close are the mycelium and the brain related?

I'd like to clarify before I start that I am just a student, so I don't know too much about any of the topics I want to discuss and that I am not an english native so my vocabulary is pretty limited.
That being said; the question came up when, doing some research about the mycelium of psylocibe mushrooms and its active principles, I started reading about the similarities between the human brain's structure and the mycelium's structure. It seems like the neurons's connections are suspiciously alike to the mycelium's connections. So I thought: aren't psilocybin and psilocine neurotransmitters? Is it possible that the mycelium works as the brain does? These substances aren't like the THC in the marihuana, these substances are present not only in the mushrooms but within the whole individual. This could mean that the mycelium, at least in the 'magic mushrooms' (but I'm sure there are similar compunds in the other kinds of mycelium), is, being simplistic, a brain without a body; a brain that uses neurotransmitters as ours and has the same structure. That would explain, evolutionarily, how animals got their brain (symbiosis). But, if we go further with this hypothesis, it's said that the correlation between the brain mass and the body mass in animals determine the intelligence of a species. So when we talk about a growing organism, formed only by interconnected cells just like the neurons, that can reach gigantic proportions (hectares) and working with neurotransmitters perfectly usable by the human (or any other animal) brain, we could be talking about intelligent organisms, even if we're just talking about potential. Maybe it is a kind of intelligence uncomprehensible to us, but that is also a question: How would that work? Could it form new connections by learning as we do? All of this may sounds just a little unreal, but again, I'm not an expert at all, that's why I'm asking.

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  • Sep 9 2013: We, as biologists, have, among others, one great failure. We pretend that physics doesn't exist. The reason that mycelia and neuronal connections resemble each other is probably purely physical--it's the most efficient way for intercellular networks to form, given the basic molecular structures all cells share.
    • Da Way

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      Sep 29 2013: Bryan's sounds like a simple and logical explanation. Given that, can we reversely use their similarity of network structures as neuronal connections to apply as a potential biological communication device, even if it wasn't inherently meant to do so?
      • Sep 30 2013: This could work, in theory, but its efficiency vs. electronic means is probably very low. Chemical communication moves at the speed of diffusion. Electricity can approach the speed of light.
  • Sep 8 2013: one of the other components in the brains of animals are fat cells which store energy. i cannot say whether there is a similar type of cell structure in the mycelia of fungi, but it is an interesting idea. i believe terrence mckenna had suggested something similar in one of his books.
  • Sep 8 2013: I'd like to add a fact I forgot: One of the effects of psilocybin and psilocine in our brain is to low the activity in those parts of the brain where the senses are controlled, That could endorse the idea of those compunds as neurotransmitters in the mycelium, because they are basically performing their task, which does not include, of course, the senses. They activate the parts of the brain they usually activate.
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      Sep 11 2013: Maybe you hit on something yet what does a brain do without a body. Most of it is used to control and regulate all parts of the body and the movement of it all. To interpret impressions and add meaning to new ones is another function and in this mycelium can do brainwork in a chemical way.

      Did you know that the largest living creature on Earth is a mycelium found somewhere in Canada as I remember it well.
      • Sep 12 2013: That's why I think the mycelium may not has an idea of self conciousness (since that's what it takes from us the psilocybin) but, indeed, it has some kind of thoughts (because of the compounds interacting within and between the cells); what we could name as 'pure thoughts', because they have not the conditions that ours have. It still has to carry out its vital functions but yet, there is an incredibly amount of space within the 'brain' without known purpose. My question is about that purpose: Is it to learn? Is it to think?
  • Oct 7 2013: Yes, nice.
    I've seen ants being mentally taken-over/hijacked by fungus just prior to going to spore. I wonder how long it was in their bodies beforehand. (And while it was there, what was it doing?) (And there's one answer to the "brain without a body" question.)
    Also I wonder about some of these "little beasties" that sneak their entire genome into anothers'. I wonder if that figures into some of this: (say: a person with fungal growth, with an alien DNA riding-along inside it)!
    I, for one, welcome our new mycelium overlords.
  • Oct 1 2013: You should check out mAChRs - muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the autonomic ganglia that fires these receptors as a function of the parasympathetic nervous system. mAChRs are named for the psychoactive mushroom Amanita Muscarina, which is itself a fascinating topic, believed by some to be the legendary Soma, an hallucinogen of the Vedic era.