Human brain’s on/off switch discovered
The most mysterious organ of the human body is the brain. Due to its high sensitivity, even centuries of research has not helped researchers understand the organ completely. However, as time advances, doctors and scientists are finding ways to research it and learn how it works.
Recently, during a surgery on the brain on a woman affected by epilepsy, a team of doctors discovered the area which can switch off the consciousness of the person completely temporarily. The team of doctors were performing a surgery on the woman’s brain and wanted to find out where the seizures originated in her brain.
In an attempt to find it out, they stimulated the claustrum of her brain which has never been stimulated so far in the history of neuroscience. To the surprise of the doctors, the woman lost consciousness temporarily and it came to light that the claustrum is the on/off switch of human consciousness. The revelations of this experiment could be used in further research and there solutions to many of the persisting health issues concerning consciousness could be found in the near future.
During the experiment, a team member zapped one of the electrodes which was placed near the claustrum with a high frequency electrical impulse after which she lost her consciousness. She did not respond to any visual instructions or oral instructions while the impulse was still on. When it was called off, she quickly regained consciousness and she could not remember anything about her temporary passing out.
Mohamad Koubeissi, the neuroscientist who leads the study has published a detailed report on how the surgery was performed and how the experiment revealed the fact that the brain can be shut out temporarily by stimulating the claustrum.
“A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there’s only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together. So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks – we may have found the key,” said Koubeissi.