Navigation Links
'Alert status' area in brain discoved by Hebrew University scientists
Date:9/14/2009

Jerusalem, Sept. 14, 2009 -- A new understanding of how anesthesia and anesthesia-like states are controlled in the brain opens the door to possible new future treatments of various states of loss of consciousness, such as reversible coma, according to Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists.

In an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists, Marshall Devor, the Cecile and Seymour Alpert Professor of Pain Research, graduate student Ruth Abulafia and research associate Dr. Vladimir Zalkind describe their discovery of an area of the brain that participates in the control of "alert status."

Loss of response to painful stimuli and loss of consciousness are the most striking characteristics of surgical anesthesia and anesthesia-like states, such as concussion, reversible coma, and syncope (fainting). These states also exhibit behavioral suppression, loss of muscle tone, a shift to the sleep-like "delta-wave" EEG pattern, and depressed brain metabolism.

It has been widely presumed that this constellation of dramatic functional changes reflects widely distributed suppression of neuronal activity in the brain due to dispersed drug action, or to global oxygen or nutrient starvation.

However, new results revealed by the Hebrew University scientists suggest a radically different architecture -- that a small group of neurons near the base of the brain, in the mesopontine tegmentum, has executive control over the alert status of the entire cerebrum and spinal cord, and can generate loss of pain sensation, postural collapse and loss of consciousness through specific neural circuitry.

This conclusion derives from the observation that microinjection of tiny quantities of certain anesthetic drugs into this newly discovered "center of consciousness" in laboratory rats induced a profound suppressive effect on the activity of the cerebral cortex.

It is not certain that these results will translate reliably from rats to man. But if they do, there are at least two implications of considerable interest. First, this knowledge could contribute to the ability of medical science to treat disorders of consciousness and its loss, such as insomnia, excessive sleepiness and even coma. Perhaps by direct electrical stimulation of the cells in question, it might prove possible to arouse a patient from coma.

Second, the discovery of a specific cluster of neurons that control the brain's state of consciousness can be expected to lead to the beginnings of an understanding of the actual wiring diagram that permits a biological machine, the brain, to be conscious.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Intruder alert: Tel Aviv Universitys Smart Dew will find you!
2. Red alert! How disease disables tomato plants intruder alarm
3. BIO-key(R) Announces Emergency Alert and Management Solutions for Schools and Campuses
4. Sunburn alert: UVB does more damage to DNA than UVA
5. AMBER Alert Safety Centers to Provide Child Safety Precautions at the New Jersey State Fair at the Meadowlands
6. Pediatricians alerted to the developmental nature of underage drinking in special journal supplement
7. Irritating smells alert special cells, NIH-funded study finds
8. Telemedicine: Health alert via satellite
9. Alcohol and sleep restriction can affect young mens alertness and driving performance
10. Enzyme alerts cells powerful army to repair DNA damage
11. Hypertension among lower-status employees lingers well into retirement
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
'Alert status' area in brain discoved by Hebrew University scientists
(Date:11/21/2016)... , Nov. 21, 2016   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced that the MegaMatcher ... cards was submitted for the NIST Minutiae ... passed all the mandatory steps of the evaluation ... is a continuing test of fingerprint templates used ...
(Date:11/15/2016)...  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), a ... gut microbiome, today announced the pricing of an ... common stock and warrants to purchase 50,000,000 shares ... the public of $1.00 per share and accompanying ... offering, excluding the proceeds, if any from the ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... From wearable devices that can ... sports. On Thursday, December 15th a panel of entrepreneurs, innovators and a Philadelphia ... at a Smart Talk session. Smart Talk will run from 8:30 – 10:30 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Iowa , Dec. 8, 2016 Eurofins announces the ... Food and President of Eurofins Scientific Inc. (ESI). ... with his proven professional and entrepreneurial experience in leading international business ... the US food testing market to uphold Eurofins, status as the ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , December 8, 2016 Oxford ... its customisable SureSeq™ NGS panel range with the launch of ... and cost-effective study of variants in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The ... (CNV) detection on a single small panel and allows customisation ... This includes all exons for LDLR , P ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Microbial genomics ... Awards. uBiome is one of just six company finalists in the Health & ... to uBiome, companies nominated as finalists in this year’s awards include Google, SpaceX, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: