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What could subsequently be the explanation of consciousness, scientists have discovered an enormous neuron encircling the whole circumference of a mouse’s brain that is profoundly linked to both hemispheres.
Scientists Just Discovered The Origins Of Consciousness
Utilizing a fresh imaging style, a group of scientists found the enormous neuron radiating from one of the best-connected regions in the brain. The team of scientists suggests it may be organizing signals from various other areas of the brain to form thoughts that are conscious. The neuron is one of three neurons that have been uncovered in a mammal’s brain for the first time, and the recent imaging system may aid us in figuring out if comparable structures have gone undiscovered in our brains for centuries.
Recently, at a meeting of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiate held in Maryland, a set from the Allen Institute for Brain Science disclosed in detail how all three of the neurons span across both hemispheres of the brain. However, the largest neuron encases the brain’s circumference like a “crown of thorns”.
Strangely, all three colossal neurons emerge from a sector of the brain- the claustrum, which has shown interesting connections to human consciousness in past years. The claustrum is so massively akin to several areas in the brain that Francis Crick of DNA double helix fame attributed to it a “conductor of consciousness” in a paper co-written with Koch, lead researcher of the study, back in 2005.
The somewhat small section is undisclosed between the inner exterior of the neocortex in the center of the brain, and exchanges information with nearly all sections of the cortex to accomplish many higher cognitive functions such as language, long-term planning, and advanced sensory tasks like seeing and hearing.
With odd medical cases occurring in the past few years only adding to their belief, Koch and Crick indicated that it may connect all of our external and internal perceptions together, creating one unified experience.
When a 54-year-old woman entered the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates in Washington, DC, for epilepsy treatment, different parts of her brain were mildly probed examined with electrodes to assist in finding the possible source of her epileptic seizures. Interestingly, when the group of scientists working on the women started stimulating her claustrum, they discovered they were able to “switch” her consciousness off and on again.
In 2015, another study examing the effects of the claustrum lesions on the consciousness of 171 combat veterans who suffered from traumatic brain injuries. Their findings were that damage to the claustrum length of time, not frequency, of consciousness. This suggested that it could play an imperative part in switching on and off of conscious thought, however, another part could be responsible for maintaining it.
The process of mapping neurons involves injecting respective nerve cells with a dye, cut the brain into slim pieces, and then track the neuron’s path by hand. As elementary a task to researchers, the brain is ultimately destroyed in the process, therefore, eliminating the possibility of performing it on human organs. This is when Koch and his group brought in the mice and came up with a less intrusive technique that could have certain genes in their claustrum neurons activated by a special drug.
“When the researchers fed the mice a small amount of the drug, only a handful of neurons received enough of it to switch on these genes, “Sara Reardon at “Nature” reports. “That resulted in production of a green fluorescent protein that spread throughout the entire neuron. The team then took 10,000 cross-sectional images of the mouse brain, and used a computer program to create a 3D reconstruction of just three glowing cells.”
It is important to remember that we are still a far way off from proving Koch’s hypothesis about consciousness as true. It is essential to keep in mind that these neurons have only been found in mice, and the research hasn; t been published in a peer-reviewed journal. In relation to humans, we need to wait for more confirmed evidence before we can state what this discovery could mean for humans.
However, the revelation is intriguing nonetheless and may be an important piece of the puzzle of how this mysterious sector of the brain is related to human conscious thought.