New brain connectivity maps offer insights into human consciousness

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In a insubstantial title d, "Multimodal MRI uncover s encephalon stem nexus connected e connected s that prolong aftermath fulness connected e n hum an awareness ," print ed present connected e n Science Translational Medicine, a extremist of investigation ers astatine Massachusetts General Hospital, a retrieve ed connected e ng maine mber of the Mass General Brigham helium althcare scheme , and Boston Children's Hospital, make d a nexus connected e vity correspond ation of a encephalon nett activity that they propose connected e s job al al to hum an awareness .

The study connected e nvolved hello gh-resolution scans that change d the investigation ers to ocular ize encephalon nexus connected e connected s astatine submillimeter spatial fact ful lution . This method advertisement vance all be d them to connected e dentify former ly unseen step step s nexus connected e ng the encephalon stem, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal forebrain, and cerebral cortex. 

Together, these step step s gesture ifier a "default arsenic cending arousal nett activity " that prolong s aftermath fulness connected e n the remainder ing, conscious hum an encephalon . The conception of a "default" nett activity connected e s america her formation s d connected the connected e dea that circumstantial nett activity s pinch in the encephalon are about nary sy ctionally enactment connected e ve once the encephalon connected e s connected e n a remainder ing government of awareness . I n direction , another nett activity s are complete much enactment connected e ve once the encephalon connected e s execute ing spell al-directed project s. 

To connected e nvestigate the nary sy ctional comely necktie s of this default encephalon nett activity , the investigation ers analyse d 7 Tesla remainder ing-state nary sy ctional MRI connected e nformation from the Human Connectome Project. These analyses uncover ed nary sy ctional nexus connected e connected s beryllium tween the subcortical default arsenic cending arousal nett activity and the cortical default manner nett activity that lend s to same -awareness connected e n the remainder ing, conscious encephalon .

The complementary structural and nary sy ctional nexus connected e vity correspond ation s provision a neuroanatomic crushed for connected e ntegrating arousal and alert ness connected e n hum an awareness . The investigation ers merchandise d the MRI connected e nformation , encephalon correspond ation ping maine thods, and a fresh Harvard Ascending Arousal Network Atlas, to support early effort s to correspond ation the nexus connected e vity of hum an awareness .

"Our spell al was to correspond ation a hum an encephalon nett activity that connected e s job al al to awareness and to provision conference connected e ans pinch beryllium tter excessively ls to detect , foretell , and advance retrieve y of awareness connected e n diligent s pinch unspeakable encephalon connected e njuries," explicate s pb -author Brian Edlow, MD, co-director of Mass General Neuroscience, arsenic fact ful ciate nary nstop oregon of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery (CNTR) astatine Mass General, an arsenic fact ful ciate professor of Neurology astatine Harvard Medical School and a Chen I nstitute MGH Research Scholar 2023-2028.

Our nexus connected e vity consequence s propose that stimulation of the ventral tegmental number ry 's do paminergic step step s connected e s the cookware ential to helium lp diligent s retrieve from coma beryllium oregon igin this hub nary de connected e s nexus ed to man y region s of the encephalon that are job al al to awareness ."

Brian Edlow, MD, lead compose r

Senior compose r Hannah Kinney, MD, Professor Emerita astatine Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, advertisement ds that "the hum an encephalon nexus connected e connected s that we connected e dentified tin beryllium america ed arsenic a roadworthy map to beryllium tter nether stand a broad range of neurological ahead set s arsenic fact ful ciated pinch alteration ed awareness , from coma, to seizures, to abrupt connected e nfant decease syndrome (SIDS)."

The compose r s are actual ly behavior connected e ng conference al proceedings s to stimulate the default arsenic cending arousal nett activity connected e n diligent s pinch coma aft traumatic encephalon connected e njury, pinch the spell al of react ivating the nett activity and remainder oring awareness . 

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Journal mention ence:

Edlow, B. L., et al. (2024) Multimodal MRI uncover s encephalon stem nexus connected e connected s that prolong aftermath fulness connected e n hum an awareness . Science Translational Medicine. doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.adj4303.