Breaking News
November 21, 2018 - Pulmonologists want more information on inhalation devices for COPD
November 21, 2018 - Cessation fatigue predicts relapse rate after attempts to quit smoking
November 21, 2018 - Special care should be taken with drugs that inhibit epigenetic factors, study suggests
November 21, 2018 - More than one in ten heavy cannabis users experience withdrawal after quitting cannabis
November 21, 2018 - Reflections on the California fires
November 21, 2018 - Donna Lynne Appointed to Key Leadership Role at CUIMC
November 21, 2018 - Smoke-free laws associated with reduced systolic blood pressure
November 21, 2018 - Achieving new guideline blood pressure goals may prevent 3 million cardiovascular events
November 21, 2018 - LDR brachytherapy for treating early-stage prostate cancer lacks conclusive data
November 21, 2018 - Purified omega-3 and aspirin reduce pre-cancerous bowel polyps, shows study
November 21, 2018 - Study warns that potential epigenetic therapy may boost lung cancer stem cells
November 21, 2018 - Noise pollution in hospital impact quality and safety of healthcare
November 21, 2018 - Higher Risk for Amputation, DKA With SGLT2 Inhibitors for T2DM
November 21, 2018 - Researchers stop ‘sneaky’ cancer cells in their tracks
November 21, 2018 - People who are afraid to draw their blood over-estimate the risk of fainting
November 21, 2018 - Personalized physical exercise reverses functional, cognitive deterioration in the elderly
November 21, 2018 - COPD linked to obesity in older women who have never smoked
November 21, 2018 - AHA: Cold-Weather Drinks Are Here, But Watch Out for the Calories
November 21, 2018 - Crowds line up at 1st East Coast pot shops
November 21, 2018 - Merck declares 2018 Life Science Award winners
November 21, 2018 - Many people underestimate the impact of sprains, say foot scientists
November 21, 2018 - Lower levels of protein make squamous carcinoma cells more invasive
November 21, 2018 - Study highlights a new predictor of type 2 diabetes
November 21, 2018 - NTU and TTSH join forces to improve doctor-patient communication
November 21, 2018 - New low-cost injectable hydrogel could help wounds heal faster
November 21, 2018 - Merck Announces Winners of 2018 Life Science Awards
November 21, 2018 - Check your medical records for dangerous errors
November 21, 2018 - Amount of weight regain after bariatric surgery helps predict health risks
November 21, 2018 - Heart failure patients with stronger hearts have more depressive symptoms, lower quality of life
November 21, 2018 - Women can be as resilient as men in undertaking arduous physical activity
November 21, 2018 - Receptor structure could be key to developing new osteoporosis drugs
November 21, 2018 - Researchers identify human white matter pathway associated with individual variability in human stereoacuity
November 21, 2018 - Vitamin D critical to early development of vertebrates, study suggests
November 21, 2018 - Myriad biological, societal factors that impact CKD severity for children of African descent
November 21, 2018 - Isofol Announces Initiation of a Pivotal Phase 3 Clinical Trial of arfolitixorin for the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
November 21, 2018 - Experts offer more clarity on managing common ankle fractures
November 21, 2018 - About 300 million bits of DNA are missing from basic reference genome, report scientists
November 21, 2018 - Study explores how the moving brain processes visual information
November 21, 2018 - Biomedical engineers stop cancer cells from moving and spreading
November 21, 2018 - Gut protein mutations protect against spikes in blood glucose levels
November 21, 2018 - First probabilistic atlas of thalamus nuclei to better understand the brain
November 21, 2018 - Peanut allergies could soon have a drug treatment
November 21, 2018 - Vanderbilt researchers isolate antibody that can neutralize West Nile virus
November 21, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Health nerd books for the holidays
November 21, 2018 - MDMA could help gain trust but does not make one naive find researchers
November 21, 2018 - Study uncovers new mechanism controlling the master cancer regulator
November 21, 2018 - Online communication technologies could stave off depression among seniors, shows study
November 21, 2018 - FDA Approves Gamifant (emapalumab-lzsg) for Primary Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
November 21, 2018 - Artificial intelligence predicts treatment effectiveness
November 21, 2018 - A bicyclist’s road to recovery after traumatic brain injury
November 21, 2018 - New research project to combat obesity, type 2 diabetes receives NIH funding
November 21, 2018 - Humans play key role in distribution and transmission of Bartonella bacteria
November 21, 2018 - First modeling system developed for testing age-specific human immune responses to vaccines
November 21, 2018 - FDA Alert: Gilenya (fingolimod): Drug Safety Communication
November 21, 2018 - Uric Acid Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 21, 2018 - Researchers use genetics to predict response to antipsychotic medications
November 21, 2018 - Proposal to include the price of drugs in television ads is flawed, Stanford scholar writes
November 21, 2018 - Disrupting reproduction strategy of disease-causing parasites could help fight malaria
November 20, 2018 - ACAAI: Almost 2 Percent of Children Have Milk Allergy
November 20, 2018 - Congenital anomalies of kidney and urinary tract – Genetics Home Reference
November 20, 2018 - Can video games improve the health of older adults with schizophrenia?
November 20, 2018 - Can flicking a molecular switch restore the aging immune system’s competence?
November 20, 2018 - Restek launches new Oregon cannabis pesticide standards
November 20, 2018 - Health sector coalition urges Government to safeguard patients in future UK-EU relationship
November 20, 2018 - Study evaluates second-hand marijuana smoke exposure among children
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify three genes responsible for recurrent molar pregnancies
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify multisystem disorder caused by bi-allelic variants in CCDC47 gene
November 20, 2018 - Dining Out With Allergies Is Tough, But These Steps Can Help
November 20, 2018 - Breastfeeding protects infants from antibiotic-resistant bacteria
November 20, 2018 - AI matched, outperformed radiologists in screening X-rays for certain diseases | News Center
November 20, 2018 - Adolescents increasingly choose marijuana over cigarettes, alcohol
November 20, 2018 - World’s first medical imaging scanner produces diagnostic scan of the whole human body
November 20, 2018 - Cytocybernetics receives NIMH award to move into neuronal drug development
November 20, 2018 - Researchers discover new information on pathological mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease
November 20, 2018 - ‘Unknown’ enzyme may be key to new treatment for inflammatory diseases
November 20, 2018 - Recreational drug may help people regain trust in others
November 20, 2018 - Researchers identify gene vital for post-stroke recovery
November 20, 2018 - Scientists identify novel target for neuron regeneration, functional recovery in spinal cord injury
November 20, 2018 - Potential new therapeutic approach developed for synovial sarcoma
November 20, 2018 - Skeletal imitation reveals how bones grow atom-by-atom
Researchers work to identify areas of the brain that help us wake up

Researchers work to identify areas of the brain that help us wake up

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Philosophers have pondered the nature of consciousness for thousands of years. In the 21st century, the debate over how the brain gives rise to our everyday experience continues to puzzle scientists. To help, researchers in the University of Michigan Medical School Center for Consciousness Science are working to identify areas of the brain that help us wake up, a basic building block of everyday consciousness.

In the search for what controls our overall level of consciousness, researchers have traditionally focused on structures in the lower part of the brain. These structures include the brainstem (which regulates vital functions like breathing, blood pressure and heartbeat); the hypothalamus (which is involved in sleep and controlling bodily functions); and the thalamus (which relays information from the senses). George Mashour, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and director of the center, decided to look at different areas of the cortex, the upper part of the brain, for its ability to control the level of consciousness.

Recent research in nonhuman primates provides evidence that the prefrontal cortex has a switchboard-like relationship with other areas of the brain, helping to ignite awareness of visual information.

“There has been a debate that has recently intensified as to whether or not the prefrontal cortex -; versus areas farther back -; plays a role in generating conscious experience. We thought that we’d target some of these different areas in the front and back of the brain to see which ones had the ability to control the level of consciousness,” he says.

The key to ignition?

Because anesthesia is used to temporarily eliminate conscious experience during medical procedures, it provides the perfect opportunity to test hypotheses about consciousness.

Mashour and lead-author Dinesh Pal, Ph.D., also of the Department of Anesthesiology, anesthetized rats with a common anesthetic used in humans. “We wanted to see what had the causal power to take an unconscious brain receiving ongoing anesthesia and wake it up,” says Pal. To test this, they targeted two neurotransmitters that are associated with wakefulness: acetylcholine and norepinephrine.

The team exposed the anesthetized rats’ prefrontal and parietal cortex to drugs that ramped up the effect of the neurotransmitters and measured their brain activity and behavior. When exposed to an acetylcholine-receptor activator, their brain waves, normally slow during sleep and anesthesia, sped up. But rats were able to start behaving as though they were awake only with prefrontal cortex stimulation, all while continuing to receive the same level of anesthesia that is used clinically for surgery in humans. These findings were published in the journal Current Biology.

Mashour says their new study “suggests that the prefrontal cortex also has the potential to play a role in coordinating the level of consciousness, possibly through the cholinergic system.”

Clinically, these results could be explored for applications in people with disorders of consciousness, such as coma or vegetative states. “Let’s say you have a patient in a coma: Could the prefrontal cortex be a site that is modulated to help coordinate events to help improve level of consciousness?” Mashour asks. The implications of this possibility are significant because of the relative accessibility of the prefrontal cortex.

“It’s very difficult and dangerous to directly intervene at the level of arousal centers in the brainstem because of its location, small size and nearby vital functions. Maybe the prefrontal cortex is an accessible gateway to some of those other arousal systems that could be leveraged in a clinical setting outside of anesthesia,” he says.

Source:

https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-report/waking-up-hard-to-do-reversing-deep-unconsciousness

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles