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Name: Morgan
Status: other
Grade: 12+
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: USA
Date: Summer 2012

Why don't nerves produce heat considering they're electrical? I once watched a TV Documentary where a boy would seize and they measured the voltage; 5000 volts at almost 2 amps. His body temperature did not change...why is that?

Hi Morgan,

To answer this question requires more detail. Nerves do produce heat, a very small contributor, as they fire. When nerves are heated, as in heat stress related illness, the dielectric is compromised and can short circuit, fail or cross talk.

Generally nerves operate at sub milliamp or at milliampere currents and at 0.1 V pressures. The pulsed Police Taser operating at about 2 milliA, 50,000V for 5 sec is sufficient to disable most humans. The 10,000 watts you cited, seems a bit excessive. Did you drop a decimal or an order of magnitude?

Thanks, PEHughes, Ph.D., Milford, NH

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