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Scientists Finally Discover Human Brain's On/Off Switch

By Akhilesh Garud in 'Other Engineering Trades', Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Akhilesh Garud

    Engineering Discipline:
    Scientists digging deep inside the human brain may have found a switch that can literally make you fall asleep. It might take us a step forward in solving the mystery of exactly how our consciousness works and how its awareness arises. In a study published last week, Mohamad Koubeissi and his colleagues at George Washington University described how accidentally they managed to switch the consciousness on and off of a woman (having epilepsy) by electrically stimulating her claustrum.

    The scientists were performing an experiment to monitor brain signals and try to pinpoint the area of a patient's brain that was causing her seizures using deep brain electrodes. One of the electrodes was positioned near the claustrum- a thin sheet of neurons running between major structures of the brain. When they buzzed the area by high frequency electrical impulses, unexpectedly, the woman lost consciousness and started to stare blankly into space. Not only did she fail to respond to audio and visual commands, but her breathing slowed down too. As soon as they stopped the stimulation, she regained her consciousness with no memory of the event happened.


    They continued this experiment for more than two days to confirm that they were affecting the woman’s consciousness rather than her ability to speak and move. During this period, they asked her to perform certain tasks such as repeating a word or snapping her fingers just before the stimulation began. What they observed is she spoke more quietly and moved very little before she drifted into unconsciousness.

    This discovery, though tested on one person, might be helpful in completely understanding how our brain actually works. What do you think about this? Share with us in comments below.

    Source: Newscientist
    • Like Like x 2
    #1 Akhilesh Garud, Jul 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2014


Discussion in 'Other Engineering Trades' started by Akhilesh Garud, Jul 7, 2014.

    1. Ankita Katdare


      Engineering Discipline:
      Computer Science
      Anyone here remembers the Neuralyzer from Men in Black series?

      It is an elongated tube like tool that gives a flash and erases the memories of the past hours, days, weeks, months or years - depending on the chosen settings.


      PS: I am sure people would prefer an anesthetic instead of having electrodes installed in their brains. :eek:
      • Like Like x 2
      #2 Ankita Katdare, Jul 7, 2014
      Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
    2. Rajni Jain

      Rajni Jain Star

      Engineering Discipline:
      Computer Science
      This may help the folks gone in comma (just like schumacher spent months in hospital ICU). Due to accident or something their switch (As mentioned in the article) turned off. This theory can probably turn on their switches?
    3. Boidd DeLorein

      Engineering Discipline:
      They found the off switch for Americans 75 years ago.It's called old glory.
      As soon as they spot it the memory storage goes blank, real history is erased and delusiones of exceptionalism puts them in a state of slack jawed shock. Throwing it on the ground then immediately drives them into a fit of rage.
      • Like Like x 1
    4. Sharvari Panchbhai

      Engineering Discipline:
      Computer Science
      According to Anil Seth from university of Sussex,UK, the women was missing a part of her hippocampus (elongated ridges at the bottom of each lateral ventricle of the brain which is centre of emotion,memory and nervous system) which was removed for the treatment of her epilepsy.Beacause of this reason, her brain did not represent a normal brain for the experiment.
      Still, this single study was informative about what happens when consciousness alone is particularly regulated.
    5. HRG

      HRG Enthusiast

      Engineering Discipline:
      woow !great achievement !! a controller near clausrum and a smart app to access it - the greatest hacking idea :D !!
      • Like Like x 2