Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the green-light-red-light dept.

Biotech 284

An anonymous reader writes "One moment you're conscious, the next you're not. For the first time, researchers have switched off consciousness by electrically stimulating a single brain area. Although only tested in one person, the discovery suggests that a single area – the claustrum – might be integral to combining disparate brain activity into a seamless package of thoughts, sensations and emotions. It takes us a step closer to answering a problem that has confounded scientists and philosophers for millennia – namely how our conscious awareness arises. When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn't respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments.

cancel ×

284 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wow! (5, Funny)

rotorbudd (1242864) | about 2 months ago | (#47394821)

That sounds like the experiments that my wife has been doin

Re:Wow! (0, Offtopic)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47395071)

This technology is already on the market. They call it Google Glass.

Re:Wow! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395081)

Uhh, not exactly. Your wife's experiments differ in two significant ways:

1) They do not involve high frequency electrical impulses delivered to the claustrum.

2) They do involve a plethora of large, black phalli repeatedly penetrating her oral and colonic cavities.

So as you can see, your wife's experiments are not at all similar to what has been described in this submission's article.

Re:Wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395241)

Uhh, not exactly. Your wife's experiments differ in two significant ways:

1) They do not involve high frequency electrical impulses delivered to the claustrum.

2) They do involve a plethora of large, black phalli repeatedly penetrating her oral and colonic cavities.

So as you can see, your wife's experiments are not at all similar to what has been described in this submission's article.

That's not what she told him.

Brain ZAP! (3, Funny)

karnal (22275) | about 2 months ago | (#47394827)

Citizen, you will be implanted with this brain massager free of charge. Please do not attempt to remove this device. That is all.

Re:Brain ZAP! (5, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 2 months ago | (#47395033)

Hee hee! Oh I like that. Press the button again. Wait until he's chewing that spoonful. Now, replace the ice cream with castor oil. Let me press it! Let me press it!

Re:Brain ZAP! (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#47395139)

The problem with dystopian theories like this is bullets are cheap. If you've subjugated the public to the point that you can force expensive brain surgery on them, why bother? Just shoot the people you don't like.

Besides, there's a huge market for non-lethal weapons; if this works on everyone and incapacitates rapidly, government labs and defense contractors will be tripping over themselves to reproduce this effect through external stimulus. No surgery necessary. Woo...

...and, of course, the end result is police and militaries doing whatever the hell they please with the excuse that their phasers were set to stun.

Re: Brain ZAP! (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395489)

Dead people leave long tails of hatred. Chronically ill or crazy people leave long tails of sadness and dependency.

but... (4, Funny)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 months ago | (#47394841)

...did it also coincide with the TV being turned on?

Re:but... (2)

Kryptonut (1006779) | about 2 months ago | (#47394897)

Ah...You've got kids too huh?

Re:but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395245)

I have a few. whichever ones i successfully snatched off the playground. usually the slowest runners.

Re:but... (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47395577)

I have a few. whichever ones i successfully snatched off the playground. usually the slowest runners.

In case you haven't heard, there's a more fun way of getting kids.

Re:but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395719)

Not everyone can afford a jeep and a big net.

an off switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394855)

Football fans everywhere are celebrating. How long till they incorporate this into a tv remote? Perhaps we can just reprogram the mute button?

Part of a larger project? (1)

Friar_MJK (814134) | about 2 months ago | (#47394857)

I see lots of new and exciting things happen in the world of neurology and such. Are these things directly stemming from the Human Brain Project? How do we know what successes have come out of that program?

Executive summary (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47394869)

So we have a bunch of male scientists who apparently didn't know about rufies.

So the claustrum.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394889)

..is basically the main() function for humans.

boobs (1)

clovis (4684) | about 2 months ago | (#47394893)

so, any idea how long your brain just went off?

This is scary (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 2 months ago | (#47394899)

But needs deep brain electodes so I guess it wont be easy to pull off .. But with advances in implant devices , zzz (shivers )

Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (2)

khb (266593) | about 2 months ago | (#47394931)

If it can be employed in surgery (putting aside the current implant requirement) it would be a surgical boon (might not be so good for anesthesiologists ;>)

Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (2)

NoseBag (243097) | about 2 months ago | (#47395065)

Yeah, but the surgery is (usually) gonna hurt like blazes the instant the signal is stopped!

Re:Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47395379)

Your head has very few pain receptors in it, neural surgery is pretty much painless after you get into the skull even with no anastasia at all, hence why they can probe the brain while you are full conscious and aware.

So, no, it isn't going to hurt like blazes.

Re:Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395459)

Your head has very few pain receptors in it, neural surgery is pretty much painless after you get into the skull even with no anastasia at all

Anastasia ?

Re:Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395551)

We've been doing all surgery with no Anastasia since 1918

Re:This is scary (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 months ago | (#47394983)

If you want to knock people unconscious, there are already less invasive ways of doing it, like general anesthesia. Though it would be interesting to know whether general anesthesia operates by a mechanism related to this one, or is doing something else.

Re:This is scary (3, Interesting)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 2 months ago | (#47395099)

If you want to knock people unconscious, there are already less invasive ways of doing it, like general anesthesia. Though it would be interesting to know whether general anesthesia operates by a mechanism related to this one, or is doing something else.

They have no idea... http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Anesthesia-General.html [surgeryencyclopedia.com]
Having had anesthesia many times I think it is worse than most procedures. I feel fuzzy for months after GA. Still it's about the only game in town if someone is going to be carving on a person for medical reasons.

Re:This is scary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395375)

General anathesia is actually quite dangerous. This could potentially make surgery a lot safer.

Re:This is scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395011)

I'm not worried. There is already an alternative technology which can achieve the same effect even when the participant is unwilling. It's called hitting someone in the head (with a $5 wrench perhaps?) Nothing new here.

Re:This is scary (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 2 months ago | (#47395049)

Right, but anesthesia or a wrench is not exactly the "kill switch" that this seems to be .

Re:This is scary (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | about 2 months ago | (#47395729)

Right, but anesthesia or a wrench is not exactly the "kill switch" that this seems to be .

More precisely, both are more likely to be actual 'kill switches' than this new method. In both general anaesthesia and the old wrench to the back of the head, there is a non-trivial likelihood that both will end in the recipients death. This new technique is theoretically attempting to target the required part of the brain with far more accuracy and less collateral damage than existing methods of rendering a person unconscious.

I perceive it more like a virtual machine suspend.

Re:This is scary (4, Funny)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47395053)

Forget implant devices. With enough mental training, Vulcans can stimulate this part of the humanoid brain just by pinching someone on the neck.

(Luckily, humanoids have very similar physiology in their nervous systems.)

Re:This is scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395337)

Uh... You do know that Vulcans aren't real. Right?

Electric roofie gun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394903)

This could be a potent device in the hands of a homosexual in a gay bar. Or even a roofie EMP bomb. Wow. Everyone will get laid.

Re: Electric roofie gun (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394963)

"a homosexual in a gay bar" so that would be most of the people there?

Re: Electric roofie gun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395145)

Is it gay if you only like black dick?

Re: Electric roofie gun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395575)

It is only gay if the balls touch.

Re: Electric roofie gun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395703)

Is it gay if you only like black dick?

No, strictly speaking that just makes you a misinformed size queen.

All kinds of uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394915)

Neat. Could be used during surgeries instead of anesthesia, or could be weaponized to disable enemy combatants.

Re:All kinds of uses (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 months ago | (#47395207)

"Neat. Could be used during surgeries instead of anesthesia, or could be weaponized to disable enemy combatants."

Nobody would want that. You want to wound (not kill) the enemy soldiers, to bind enemy medics, food, transportation, logistics, field hospitals, pensions and lower morale.

If you zap them and go away, they will still be there fighting against you. If you take them prisoner, it's YOU who has to provide medics, food, transportation, logistics, field hospitals and get plenty of bad publicity on top.

Re:All kinds of uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395227)

Actually, it's usually good publicity to treat prisons well.

Re:All kinds of uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395367)

You would think. But, you have to do everything perfectly. The minute even one slip up happens (eg. some guard pissing on a prisoner's religious text), everything is blown out of proportion and all your good deeds are forgotten.

Re:All kinds of uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395535)

Whereas if you treat them poorly from the beginning, you'll never have any good press to begin with.

Re:All kinds of uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395507)

Actually, it's usually good publicity to treat prisons well.

Tell that to the US, ICE and various state prison systems.

Re:All kinds of uses (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47395591)

Neat. Could be used during surgeries instead of anesthesia, or could be weaponized to disable enemy combatants.

Sure, just capture them and subject them to brain surgery for the implant, then turn them lose so you can capture them easier next time.

Anesthetic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394971)

Be nice if this could work as anesthetic.

Re:Anesthetic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395045)

Then you would only have to weight the risk of an invasive procedure into your brain against the risk of taking anaesthetics. No wait, brain surgery without anaesthetics doesn't sound like a good idea.

Re:Anesthetic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395079)

Then you would only have to weight the risk of an invasive procedure into your brain against the risk of taking anaesthetics. No wait, brain surgery without anaesthetics doesn't sound like a good idea.

There are no pain receptors in the brain, so brain surgery is often done with only a local anesthetic for the skull opening procedure.

Better than the Holy Grail... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394973)

An on/off switch on women!

Consciousness (2, Flamebait)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 months ago | (#47394979)

Wow, if we discover the exact region and mechanism for how consciousness emerges from brain activity, then this, in my mind, is the final nail in the coffin of the Soul Hypothesis ( the religious explanation for consciousness being external to the brain, and as something that survives death ).

Of course, the religionists will carp on about how this study is all a big conspiracy with science finding or some other claptrap, but for the rest of us, this could be a major discovery!

Re:Consciousness (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47395061)

The soul is information. It doesn't have a physical location.

Re:Consciousness (1, Redundant)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47395149)

So where's the information stored?

Re:Consciousness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395249)

I can't say for sure, but they may be claiming that your brain state is, effectively, your soul. At this point, it's more a question of what you think a soul is. If we say it's what makes you you.. then yeah, your brain state is your soul, and if we can ever find a way to copy or simulate it, we'll be able to move/duplicate souls, hence the lack of physical location. It all comes down to information, however it just so happens that we're used to expecting souls to execute in a consistently identifiable machination - hence the association.

Of course, this is largely pointless discussion of definitions. I think the actually important part is if we can discover adequate evidence that consciousness is a process, not a thing. That there is no special spiritual sauce that makes thought happen, that with adequate knowledge and resources we can replicate this process and create new consciousness.

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395423)

The soul's location is: your mom.

Re:Consciousness (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 2 months ago | (#47395415)

It's stored on the 2d holographic plane at the edge? of the universe. Can't you QM types keep up with your own blabbering? Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.

Re:Consciousness (1, Funny)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47395429)

In quantum fluctuations that happen to reside for some time in part of your brain.

There is already decent evidence that the 'soul' is a quantum phenomenon, which allows it to reside both in your brain and survive death at the same time and it explains all sorts of other odd 'miracles' that occur as well as things like telepathy and twins seeming to 'feel' their twin even from great distances.

This satisfies both the religious definition and the OMG GOD DOESN'T EXIST AND I HATE THE IDEA definition.

Get over it it and accept theres more too it than you understand.

Re:Consciousness (-1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 months ago | (#47395461)

There is already decent evidence that the 'soul' is a quantum phenomenon

Oh, if that's true it would be the most interesting thing ever brought to Slashdot! Please present said evidence! I can't wait!

Get over it it and accept theres more too it than you understand.

No, I'll leave that kind of unthinkingness to religious types.

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395755)

That would be a grand discovery indeed. Too bad there's no chance in hell it will come from the likes of you!

Somehow, anti-science people like you keep spouting your limiting beliefs without really checking on what real physists think is possible.

If it were up to people like you, no new invention or discovery would ever surface.

Happily, the world will go on just fine without you. Maybe you won't be reborn if you disbelieve it? Yay!

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395675)

Here [amazon.com]

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395295)

Soul is the perception of others about us.

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395217)

Finally! Your sense of superiority will be confirmed!
Bigots like you are disgusting, regardless of which side you subscribe to.

Re:Consciousness (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395237)

Um, no it doesn't. It simply proves that consciousness can be externally shut off.

I'm not going to go into actual religious discussion, save to say that this would have little if any impact on religion at all.

It might be a good thing to actually learn about what it is you're trying to get rid of before you start commenting on it.

Re:Consciousness (2)

Sabriel (134364) | about 2 months ago | (#47395339)

Why do you believe that consciousness must not emerge from brain activity for there to be a "soul"?
Why do you believe that there must be a religious explanation for a "soul"?

Whether or not there actually is a "soul", your provided definition of it doesn't require either of those to be true.

And it would be no less a major discovery if we found that we did have souls. Or that only some of us did. Or that we only got them at a certain age. Or only under certain conditions. Or that we could create them. Or destroy them.

Re:Consciousness (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47395465)

Why do you believe that there must be a religious explanation for a "soul"?

Why do you believe there must not be a religious explanation for a soul?

Ot goes both ways based on current evidence. There is evidence that the soul is a quantum phenomenon that can not be simply created (for varying definitions of simply) and this possibly explains so many things. I acknowledge its only a possibility and the theory has only a small amount of evidence but you have exactly none to back your statements.

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395525)

Ot goes both ways based on current evidence. There is evidence that the soul is a quantum phenomenon that can not be simply created (for varying definitions of simply) and this possibly explains so many things. I acknowledge its only a possibility and the theory has only a small amount of evidence but you have exactly none to back your statements.

Cite please and I'd accept *any* evidence, not just "a small amount."

Re:Consciousness (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 2 months ago | (#47395395)

New "religionist" theory: the claustrum is the interface of the brain to the soul.

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395401)

What does brain activity have to do with a soul?
Ask any "believer" if they think a brain-dead person has a soul and they'll deafen you with the "YES!".

Even after we clone a person and transfer the entirety of their consciousness into the new body - you'll still have people claiming the "soul" died with the old body.

Re:Consciousness (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 2 months ago | (#47395479)

Wow, if we discover the exact region and mechanism for how consciousness emerges from brain activity, then this, in my mind, is the final nail in the coffin of the Soul Hypothesis ( the religious explanation for consciousness being external to the brain, and as something that survives death ).

Feel free to believe whatever. Start with an unfounded assertion "there is no soul" and then use unrelated discoveries in a circular logic to justify your belief to yourself.

Of course, the religionists will carp on about how this study is all a big conspiracy with science finding or some other claptrap, but for the rest of us, this could be a major discovery!

You don't speak for the rest of us, if indeed, there is a class of people ("religionists") and another class ("the rest of us").

Re:Consciousness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395493)

Is there a falsifiable expression of this "Soul Hypothesis"? If so, it's worth a cite, and we could consider whether the study or its extensions might test it. If not, the question isn't within the realm of science, and a localization of some aspect of consciousness, long known to be somewhere within the brain, won't be a nail in any coffin.

The vast majority of modern religious claims are unfalsifiable, so expecting J Random Latest Study to have bearing on them is a bit naive. They will probably always remain inherently beyond the reach of scientific evidence. As major scientific results become rarer, we may not see much change in this disjunction of the boundaries of the two systems of thought, relative to the dramatic changes of the last few centuries.

Re:Consciousness (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47395527)

Wow, if we discover the exact region and mechanism for how consciousness emerges from brain activity, then this, in my mind, is the final nail in the coffin of the Soul Hypothesis ( the religious explanation for consciousness being external to the brain, and as something that survives death ).

Of course, the religionists will carp on about how this study is all a big conspiracy with science finding or some other claptrap, but for the rest of us, this could be a major discovery!

And after you convince them that they were wrong about souls, you can then easily convince them that insectivores, Prosimians, and Marsupials* all have souls/whatever makes us human as well.

*wiki says: "The claustrum has a phylogenetic background appearing predominantly in insectivores, Prosimians, and Marsupials."

Zombies (0)

thewickedductaper (1549243) | about 2 months ago | (#47394985)

One step closer to the zombie apocalypse.

Does the robot have it? (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 2 months ago | (#47394991)

I particularly liked the manner in which the writer jumped from something as complex as the human brain developing consciousness to wondering if robots have the same function. He should be lobotomized.

Does the robot have it? (1)

NoseBag (243097) | about 2 months ago | (#47395085)

Ever heard of "Pause"? LOL

Interesting, but N=1 and... (5, Interesting)

dhj (110274) | about 2 months ago | (#47395005)

From TFA:

Anil Seth, who studies consciousness at the University of Sussex, UK, warns that we have to be cautious when interpreting behaviour from a single case study. The woman was missing part of her hippocampus, which was removed to treat her epilepsy, so she doesn't represent a "normal" brain, he says.

Normally a scientist will not ethically be able to put deep brain electrodes in a person, but this was likely part of a larger experiment related to the hippocampus surgery. It will be interesting to see if similar cases present similar behaviors and more interesting if the same thing happens in someone with a full hippocampus.

Re:Interesting, but N=1 and... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395247)

The original article seems to be conspicuously missing. Here is the pubmed reference (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24967698), but the link there is broken too and even browsing through the journal's archive doesn't bring up any reference to the article. Hopefully that gets fixed very soon.
Also, back when I was PhD student in neuroscience Crick and Koch's idea that the claustrum was the seat of consciousness was one of my class's favorite jokes- if it turns out they were actually right I'm gonna be so f-ing mad.

Re:Interesting, but N=1 and... (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 months ago | (#47395613)

I find the whole think kind of surprising, since it is known that the whole brain doesn't go to sleep at the same time. Sleepwalking happens when part of it isn't asleep at all.

Very interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395009)

Does anyone find the fact that she was not respondant to auditory and visual stimuli, but still breathed(even though it slowed down)?

it's as if the survival instinct overrode the unconsciousness

Re:Very interesting (3, Informative)

quintesse (654840) | about 2 months ago | (#47395173)

I don't know, should we find it *what* exactly, you didn't really state that. Surprising? No, it's not, that's indeed the survival instinct taking over. In general your breathing is not conscious, although we have conscious control unlike for example your heart. But in general it's not possible for example to hold your breath until you are dead. There are some ways to hold your breath until you pass out, but the moment you do you start breathing again. (All this AFAIK)

It nearly always does (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 2 months ago | (#47395177)

it's as if the survival instinct overrode the unconsciousness

Whenever survival is at stake, consciousness is among the first wasters of valuable resources (energy) to be turned off, or at least substantially modified.. This is a principle, AFAIK.

Re:Very interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395545)

Does anyone find the fact that she was not respondant to auditory and visual stimuli, but still breathed(even though it slowed down)?

it's as if the survival instinct overrode the unconsciousness

Umm..cf. the Autonomic Nervous System vs. the [wikipedia.org] Somatic Nervous System [wikipedia.org] . Duh.

Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (5, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | about 2 months ago | (#47395021)

I have been experimenting with this technique since the early 80s. It is possible to stimulate the claustrum via pressure along the sternocleidomastoid. By pinching this area it causes sympathetic nerve activity that can effective render someone unconscious. My colleague has perfected the technique to the point that he uses it at parties. Quite eerie, actually.

Peace. Stay healthy and have a long life..

Re:Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (2, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 2 months ago | (#47395143)

Logical.

Re:Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395257)

Logical.

Didn't the Vulcan's perfect this?

Re:Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (4, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47395311)

Vulcan neck pinch?

Re:Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395529)

Fascinating.

So does this mean... (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about 2 months ago | (#47395153)

Neuralizers! Men in Black is the new Star Trek.

Re:So does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395239)

Quick, patent and weaponize this research. - said the old US military chief.

I've been wrong this whole time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395155)

I thought that if you're stimulating a woman's claustrum and she falls asleep, you're doing it wrong.

Off switch for consciousness is well known (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395157)

It begins with the words "Cardholder's agreement".

What is consciousness? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47395271)

They zapped a part of her brain that had the effect of stopping conscious thought. I suppose that meets the definition, but it sounds more like they overwhelmed her normal brain function rather than shut it off.

Re:What is consciousness? (1)

countach (534280) | about 2 months ago | (#47395629)

That's an interesting interpretation of what happened.

I was also wondering why they said she was unconscious but not asleep. What is the technical difference that allows them to make this distinction?

Not good.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395301)

Now they have a way to keep clones unconscious until they harvest organs from them.

OTHO, I wonder if it could be used during surgery in place of drugs?

Next innovation ? (1)

slash0r (3734763) | about 2 months ago | (#47395369)

Direct access to unconsciousness brain part ?

What is next ?
- flashing new ideas/learning skills like Neo.... or brainwashing/propaganda...
- or cheap and instant medical anesthesia, nonlethal cop weapons, alternative to rape drugs...
- clearing out what is in your consciousness and not in your long-term memory yet, like in Men-in-Black...

Choose one. Ok, all.

Fortunately, the switch it in the brain... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47395383)

Imagine what could happen if it were conveniently located on your back!

"If you had an off switch..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395547)

"If You Had An Off Switch, Doctor, Would You Not Keep It A Secret?"
"I guess I would."

-- Data and Dr. Crusher, "Datalore", stardate 41242.4

*I* darn sure would!!

Re:Fortunately, the switch it in the brain... (1)

slash0r (3734763) | about 2 months ago | (#47395615)

Yess, Hinduists figured out that before : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Let's not jump to conclusions. (3, Informative)

jaeztheangel (2644535) | about 2 months ago | (#47395387)

The Claustrum as an area of the brain has been well established as an area of orchestration of various sensory subsystems. It has been studied for over two centuries[1].

These studies clearly demonstrate that the Cl is richly innervated with a wide and diverse array of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Lesion, stimulation and recording experiments demonstrate that the functional and physiologic capacity of the Cl is quite robust. A recurring theme of claustral function appears to be its involvement in sensorimotor integration. This may be expected of the Cl, given the degree of heterotopic, heterosensory convergence and its interconnectivity with the key subcortical nuclei and sensory cortical areas. The Cl remains a poorly understood and under investigated nucleus.

It makes sense that a major loss of function is associated with interrupting the Claustrum - but there are several nuclii in the brain - the Hippocampus being one. Claiming it is the 'one true center of consciousness' in the brain doesn't account for the countless studies which reveal just how complex the operation of our neural networks actually are, and may be premature.

References

  1. [1]The claustrum: a historical review of its anatomy, physiology, cytochemistry and functional significance. Edelstein LR1, Denaro FJ. [nih.gov]

IITC? (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | about 2 months ago | (#47395407)

So, how well does this finding fit with the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

holy shit fuck.. doctors at it again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395511)

this is like MKULTRA experiments. the damage done to people from mind control experiments is long-term. this women is going to wake up one day and realize she couldn't even remember if she forgot anything. she might suddenly die. she might lose hair or teeth.

maybe she gets schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. this is common with mind control subjects. like the 10 year olds abducted by the military, raped, drugged, electroshocked, kept in cages, psychically drived, and trained as prostitutes and spy assassins... then suddenly kicked out of the program and suffering extreme injury for the rest of their lives.

I fear for the womens life because what these doctors are doing to her are fucking batshit crazy.

This actually happened to me as a male at age 23.. read my site.

http://www.oregonstatehospital.net/ [oregonstatehospital.net]

Scifi becomes reality (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47395519)

I'm pretty sure I've seen devices like this in science fiction shows. Though absent a very high quality auto-targetting, I can't see the real one having any use against an unwilling subject. I wonder if it also causes short-term memory loss?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>