I would like to make a simulation (concerning genetic evolution) and I want to use a very simplistic model of neurons.

I don't really care there are different kinds of neurons, I don't care much that the extracellular field is different at axons-dendrites and initially, I don't even care that the spike is transferred through the axon. What I really want to know, is whether I can approximate (very roughly) the field with a magnetic dipole pointing at the direction of the axon. Or are the directions of the MF and the axon unrelated?

I have looked around for some image depicting such a relation, but I didn't find any. Is there any resource of some kind available?

  • $\begingroup$ Have a look at the cable model. It models neurons as electrical cables. Modelling them as dipoles would be super excessively simplistic and very far from reality. In fact, such a reduction would not even be useful in any context. $\endgroup$
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ in my research, i am trying to see if magnetic fields have any effect in some aspects of the evolution of the brain. If i was to use the cable model to deduce the magnetic fields, i would have to use a "cylindrical" cable model in order to be precise at a fields level. That of course would be really expensive at a computational level especially for a genetic algorithm. I will though try to simulate a cylindrical cable model to see what comes out. thanks. $\endgroup$
    – Yann
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ They surely are not magnetic dipoles, but they can be modelled as magnetic dipoles (more or less accurately). I believe your question would have been received even better (at least by me) if you had asked it this way: "How accurately can neurons be modelled as magnetic dipoles?" But maybe I'm just a penny pincher. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Yes, neurons can be modeled as magnetic dipoles. In fact, that is the basis of MEG. Here is an example of a paper that instantiates a computational model of magnetic dipoles in order to explain MEG data Neural mechanisms of transient neocortical beta rhythms: Converging evidence from humans, computational modeling, monkeys, and mice.

  • $\begingroup$ ok, so i see i have to use current dipoles instead on magnetic ones. After some thought i guess it makes more sense... $\endgroup$
    – Yann
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 14:42

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