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Medical Giant neuron around circumference of brain?

  1. Feb 28, 2017 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2017 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    We humans already have a "brain coordination system" with a huge number of neural connections - the corpus callosum. It connects the two hemispheres of the human brain. I don't know mouse neuroanatomy well enough to see why the claim you mention is important. Or even if it is valid. Also there is no single giant neuron than encircles normal human brains. AFAIK.

    When I follow links in the original popular science article I find mention of the claustrum in humans, which is thought to be a communications center for conscious thought in humans. AFAIK: This hypothesis is still at the maybe level - it needs a lot more research. However the claustrum is not a giant neuron. It is more like a very dense "glob" of many neurons.

    People who are current in this field may want to bring us better updates. Here is a blog by a neurologist discussing the claustrum as the 'seat of conscious thought' from 2008. I would think if this were better validated by now, it would have been in popular science magazines by now.
     
  4. Feb 28, 2017 #3

    BillTre

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    Interesting article.

    Sure, it is possible that the human brain could contain similar neurons that are still undetected. It is not however likely to be answered soon using these methods since genetic transformation of humans is not some thing that will likely happen soon.
    It would be interesting to see what similar techniques would show in primates like monkeys and chimps. They would be a much better indicator of the human situation than mice due to their closer evolutionary relationships.

    The relationship of these neurons to consciousness is largely speculative. It is supported by:
    The neurons are in the clustrum and have widespread connections in the brain.
    The clustrum, when stimulated (affecting large numbers of cells), affects consciousness.
    One way of thinking about consciousness attributes widespread connections importance to the process.

    Single cell stimulation of these neurons (in humans) would be interesting to do but probably not easy.
    Some people (not me) might contend mice (and lots of other animals) don't have consciousness (which leads to apparently unresolvable arguments).
     
  5. Mar 1, 2017 #4

    Pythagorean

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    Mice also have a corpus callosum. But it only coordinates left and right hemisphere, and you don't need both hemisphere to be conscious anyway. If you read the article, it is the interconnectedness between portions of neocortex, a well as claustrom, that makes Koch think it's relevant to consciousness.
     
  6. Mar 2, 2017 #5

    jim mcnamara

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  7. Mar 2, 2017 #6

    Pythagorean

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    There could be, but Koch is always speculating about consciousness so I wouldn't hold my breath.
     
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