Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After millennia, Harvard researchers appear to have finally discovered the origin of forming consciousness

Photo: earth-matters.nl
Researchers have tried millennia to discover the origin of consciousness. Despite advances in neuroscience, still is not sure where it came from.

However, some of them claim to have found finally its origin after they have identified a link between three specific areas of the brain that appear to be crucial in terms of the emergence of consciousness.

Consciousness is made, it is believed, of 2 components: arousal and awareness. Researchers have shown already that the excitation is controlled by the part of the brain that are in contact with the spinal cord. Regarding awareness, the answer is elusive. It is believed that it originated somewhere in the cortex, the outer layer of the brain, but nobody was able to say that it is certainly there.

But the team of researchers from Harvard have identified not only the region that is closely connected with excitement, but also two regions of cortex that together seem to form consciousness. In order to reach a clear conclusion, the team started a study on 36 patients who had brain injuries, 12 of them being in a coma. This study concluded that this small region of the brain is responsible for the emergence of consciousness, but to discover what part of the brain is closely related to this, the researchers produced a map of the brain. Thus, they identified two areas in the cortex that after some previous studies have concluded that they have a close connection with excitement and awareness, but it is the first time that has to do with the center of the brainstem.

The team needs to confirm the result before being sure that the connection that exists between those three areas of the brain is, in fact, the origin of consciousness. Moreover, they are hoping to find a viable treatment for treating people in a coma or in a vegetative state who have brain healthy but have no conscience.

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Source: Science Alert

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