Scientists may have cracked the mystery of consciousness
Experts have edged closer to finally explaining how exactly humans have consciousness after they discovered three neurons in mammalian brains.
Consciousness, the ability to perceive and be aware of our surroundings, has baffled scientists for centuries, with there so far being an inability to define what exactly in our brain gives us this power.
But new research from the Allen Institute for Brain Science has identified three neurons in the brain, one of which wraps around it like a “crown of thorns”, that could finally be the breakthrough that experts need in identifying the origin of human consciousness.
The neurons were actually found on the brain of mice using 10,000 cross-sectional images of the brain, and then used a computer program to create one of the most vivid maps of the brain to date.
ALLEN INSTITUTE FOR BRAIN SCIENCE
The neurons that may be the key to consciousness
All three of the neurons stem from a region in the brain known as the claustrum – which has been linked to consciousness in the past.
At the BRAIN Initiative conference, lead researcher Dr Christof Koch exclaimed: “A single neuron, projecting across the entire cortex! Absolutely astonishing!”
Where consciousness comes from has baffled scientists
The researcher described the claustrum as “a beautiful part of the brain that doesn’t get enough recognition”.
He previously wrote in an article for Scientific American: “[Looking] at the white matter fibres coursing to and from the claustrum reveal that it is a neural Grand Central Station.
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“Almost every region of the cortex sends fibres to the claustrum.”
Due to its massive connections, Dr Koch said that the claustrum may be acting as a “conductor of consciousness.”