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Researchers Explain How to Turn On Your ‘Consciousness Switch’

Do you understand the place to discover your consciousness change?

‘con-scious-ness (n):

  • The state of being aware and awareness of one’s environment.

“She failed to regain consciousness and died two days later.”

  • The consciousness or notion of one thing by an individual.

“Her acute consciousness of Mike’s presence.”

  • The truth of consciousness by the thoughts of itself and the world.

“consciousness emerges from the operations of the brain.”‘

~ The Oxford Dictionaries

The Unsolved Mystery of Brain Science

For all that’s been uncovered by scientists in regards to the human brain, they’re nonetheless at a loss in regards to the underlying mechanisms of consciousness. While we usually settle for that consciousness is the byproduct of an intricate connectedness of some variety between completely different elements of the brain, scientists haven’t fairly been ready to “put their finger on” it.

Guess that’s all a part of making an attempt to perceive probably the most complicated buildings within the universe. Like all breakthrough brain discoveries, a complete clarification of consciousness/unconsciousness might take some time.

However, a group of researchers from George Washington University in Washington D.C. might have simply taken the all-important first step.

The Consciousness ‘Switch’

When your brain transitions from a conscious to an unconscious state, a sort of ‘switch,’ or sudden motion, happens inside its circuitry.

“Lights out” is commonly utilized by commentators when a boxer or MMA fighter is knocked unconscious. Whether this considerably easy phrase has any roots in basic neuroscience is unknown, it’s a comparatively correct description.

Indeed, there’s a ‘switch to that ‘light.’

Researchers Explain How to Turn On Your ‘Consciousness Switch’

The Claustrum

The group of Francis Crick and Christoff Koch, each of whom helped decrypt the structure of DNA, hypothesised {that a} brain area referred to as the claustrum may be on the coronary heart of consciousness.

The common neuroscientist possible sneered upon first listening to the proposition that the claustrum, a comparatively obscure brain area, was chargeable for consciousness.

Here’s how Joel Frohlich, in the Psychology Today piece titled “What the Heck Is a Claustrum?” explains this response:

“The hypothesis that one brain region might occupy a privileged position as the central gatekeeper of consciousness is sure to spark debate in a (Neuroscience) community that is often skeptical of almost any theory of consciousness in the first place.”

Frohlich continues: “…oddly enough, no one can say what the claustrum does or how it’s important.”

What is the Claustrum?

The claustrum is a super-thin sheet of neurons tucked deep contained in the human (and mammalian) brain, beneath the insular lobe. This tiny blanket of neurons can solely be accessed if all different elements of the cortex (outer layers) of the brain are pulled apart.

We, people, have two claustra, one inside every hemisphere of the brain. Unlike the frontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, and cerebral cortex, you’ve possible by no means heard of the claustrum.

That makes two of us.

To provide you with an thought of simply how little is understood of the claustrum, take into account that no brain surgeon may let you know what occurs if this tiny neuronal layer is broken or eliminated. They can’t say as a result of they by no means knowingly work together with it.

The Study of the Consciousness Switch

An unidentified lady, sadly identified with a uncommon epileptic seizure situation, sought reduction – of any variety – from her scenario.

While scientists have been stimulating completely different brain areas to discover the epicenter of her situation, they immediately triggered an unconscious state. They decided {that electrical} stimulation of the left claustrum and anterior-dorsal insula triggered the girl to turn into unresponsive.

To guarantee this wasn’t a one-off, researchers repeated stimulation of the identical space. The lady as soon as once more lost consciousness.

The subsequent step was the ensure that they weren’t merely interrupting motor management and speech. To ensure that, they requested the girl to repeat a specific phrase earlier than stimulation. After registering the mandatory suggestions, the group successfully dominated out the potential of management and speech interference.

How does this occur?

The lead writer of the research, Mohamad Koubeissi, explains how activation of this comparatively unknown piece of neural circuitry triggered the unconscious state:

“I liken (the brain) to a car. It has many part parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there’s only one spot where you turn the key, and it all switches on … we may have found the key.”

Final Thoughts on Research on the Consciousness Switch: What’s subsequent?

Similar to all scientific findings, impartial researchers should nonetheless replicate and observe the outcomes. Further, the girl within the research was not a typical affected person in that she exhibited extremely irregular brain exercise.

The lady was additionally lacking part of the hippocampus, described as “the center of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system (ANS).” Although this outlier isn’t thought to have influenced the research’s outcomes, each potential clarification have to be thought-about earlier than going ahead.

Koch himself downplayed the findings a bit: “This study is incredibly intriguing, but it is one brick in a large edifice of consciousness that we’re trying to build.”

The outcomes, nevertheless, are optimistic. Should additional analysis show the research to be legitimate, it could simply revolutionise many areas inside neuroscience. Specifically, medical doctors will maintain the important thing to treating extreme and life-altering situations, together with uncommon types of epilepsy.

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