A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The Claustrum - The Brain's On Off Switch?
Most modern theories about the brain agree that consciousness is an integration of activity from brain networks, resulting in our experience of one unified reality.
In a study published last week, Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe how they managed to switch a woman's consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum. The woman has epilepsy so the team were using deep brain electrodes to record signals from different brain regions to work out where her seizures originate. One electrode was positioned next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before.
[ The claustrum is a thin, irregular, sheet of neurons that is attached to the underside of the neocortex in the center of the brain. It is suspected to be present in the brains of all mammals. ]
When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn't respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments
John Brunner's fans may recall the data-retrieval mode used to access the memories of Nickie Haflinger in Brunner's 1975 masterpiece The Shockwave Rider. In the story, the subject could be "turned on" or "turned off" using this method.
The man in the bare steel chair was as naked as the room's white walls... Tiny adhesive pads held sensors in position at a dozen places on his scalp...
From each sensor a lead, fine as gossamer, ran to the... data analysis console...
Not looking up, the girl in white plastic said, "Yes, sir, he's status go."
She headed for the door. Taking a seat at Freeman's invitation, Hartz said doubtfully, "Don't you have to give him a shot or something? He looks pretty thoroughly sedated."
Settling comfortably in his own chair adjacent to the data console, Freeman said, "No, it's not a question of drugs. It's done with induced current in the motor centers. One of our specialties, you know. All I have to do is move this switch and he'll recover consciousness - though not, of course, the power of ambulation. Just enough to let him answer in adequate detail. By the way, before I turn him on, I should fill in what's happening..."
Via New Scientist.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/3/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
The Autonomous Robotic Urethral Catheter - Would You Use It?
'It'll snake its way in on its own.'
OrganEx Revives The Organs In Dead Pig
'Wakened into half-life activity one hour a month...' - Philip K. Dick, 1969.
Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'... in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.' - Clifford Simak, 1963.
NextSense Earbuds Spy On Your Brain
'Your cephalochromoscope that cost you nine hundred dollars... colors and ceph patterns...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'
Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'
Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetsons imagined so much future.
Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'
'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'
Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'
Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'
Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'
Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'
Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'
Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'
Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-M’Lou in and out of the atmosphere...'
MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me — you and your robot cat.'
Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'
Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories