The search for the source of human consciousness
For thousands of years, scientists have tried to understand where human consciousness comes from, the belief that we exist. Despite advances in science and an increasing understanding of brain processes, the question of the origin of consciousness is still open. Harvard researchers’ study sheds new light on problem.
The research was published back in November 2016 in the journal "Neurology". Their results are being used to further research into new treatments for patientsoIn a vegetative state.
– We have found a link between one of the regionsoin the trunk of the mozg versus two other locations in the cortex mozgowa, ktore likely to be closely related to consciousness – mowi Michael Fox of Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. – Many evidenceow indicates that this network plays a large role in the emergence of human consciousness, the researcher says.
The fact that we are beings who know of our own existence consists of two key features: arousal (excitement) and consciousness. Scientists have previously shown that the trunk of the mozgu. They were able to determine this by observing its operation as we sleep and wake up.
Consciousness was much more difficult to grasp. For a long time, scientists thought that our consciousness was located somewhere in the cortex mozgowa, but no one could pinpoint a specific location. Teamoł from Harvard was the first to localize a specific region of m trunkoof the brain responsible for arousal and its relationship to two regions of the m cortexozgowa. Their wspolction may be the source ofodlled consciousness in humans, the researchers believe.
The researchers analyzed a total of 36 patientow with changes in the mozgu. Twelve of them were in a coma, 24 were conscious. Then scientists studied the action of their mozgoIn order to see if there is a region, ktorego activity from theożnia patientoin the conscious from those plunged into comas. They discovered one small area of the stem of the mozg (the dorsal part of the bridge), whichory could be linked to coma.
Ten of the twelve unconscious patientsow had damage in this area of the mozgu. In the case of osob conscious similar damage had only one person. It suggests that this small area is connected in some wayob with the consciousness.
Scientists porownali roalso howob The diagnosed area connects to other parts of the mozgu at osob of the healthy. This is how they arrived at the dwoch sites in the cortex of the human mozgu. They were already thought to be responsible for arousal and consciousness. For the first time, however, they were found to be connected directly to the trunk of the mozgu.
Teamoł has twice conducted research. Powtohe experiment on a group of 45 osob in a comatose state. It turned out that in all of them there were interferenceocenia in the connection between the three areas. The researchers stipulated that this is still a first step and that they need to verify their discovery on a wider group of patientow.
However, the researchers hope that stimulating these three areas of theow mozgu in waspsob in coma will make it possible to find an effective therapy that can restore theocknowledge of the sick, whichoto whom medicine has so far offered no hope.