Shedding Light on Biology of Human Consciousness

Study in human participants lends insight into one of neuroscience’s greatest puzzles: how the brain transforms unconscious information into conscious thought - The Brain’s ‘Aha!’ Moment

Columbia scientists have identified the brain’s ‘aha!’ moment, that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today’s findings in humans, combined with previous research, provide compelling evidence that this moment, this feeling of having decided pierces consciousness when information being collected by the brain reaches a critical level.

The results of this study further suggest that this piercing of consciousness shares the same underlying brain mechanisms known to be involved in making far simpler decisions. Importantly, this study offers hope that the biological foundations of consciousness may well be within our grasp.

Retrieving memories from early Alzheimer’s

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, patients are often unable to remember recent experiences. However, a new study from MIT suggests that those memories are still stored in the brain — they just can’t be easily accessed.

The MIT neuroscientists report in Nature that mice in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can form new memories just as well as normal mice but cannot recall them a few days later.

"Memory retrieval by activating engram cells in mouse models of early Alzheimer’s disease"
By Roy et al | Nature, 2016 Mar 24

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