Scientists think they now understand where our consciousness is in the brain.
Philosophers struggled for millennia to define human consciousness.
Now, a team of researchers led by neurologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has pinpointed the regions of the brain that may play a role maintaining it. Their findings, which have already garnered multiple awards from the American Academy of Neurology, were published today in that society’s journal, Neurology.
Michael D. Fox, MD, PhD, Director of the Laboratory for Brain Network Imaging and Modulation and the Associate Director of the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at BIDMC, said:
“For the first time, we have found a connection between the brainstem region involved in arousal and regions involved in awareness, two prerequisites for consciousness.
A lot of pieces of evidence all came together to point to this network playing a role in human consciousness.
We now have a great map of how the brain is wired up in the Human Connectome. We can look at not just the location of lesions, but also their connectivity. Over the past year, researchers in my lab have used this approach to understand visual and auditory hallucinations, impaired speech, and movement disorders. A collaborative team of neuroscientists and physicians had the insight and unique expertise needed to apply this approach to consciousness.”