Neural correlates of consciousness

what we know and what we have to learn!

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consciousness is a multifaceted concept with two major components: awareness of environment and of self (i.e., the content of consciousness) and wakefulness (i.e., the level of consciousness). Medically speaking, consciousness is the state of the patient’s awareness of self and environment and his responsiveness to external stimulation and inner need. A basic understanding of consciousness and its neural correlates is of major importance for all clinicians, especially those involved with patients suffering from altered states of consciousness. To this end, in this review it is shown that consciousness is dependent on the brainstem and thalamus for arousal; that basic cognition is supported by recurrent electrical activity between the cortex and the thalamus at gamma band frequencies; and that some kind of working memory must, at least fleetingly, be present for awareness to occur. New advances in neuroimaging studies are also presented in order to better understand and demonstrate the neurophysiological basis of consciousness. In particular, recent functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have offered the possibility to measure directly and non-invasively normal and severely brain damaged subjects’ brain activity, whilst diffusion tensor imaging studies have allowed evaluating white matter integrity in normal subjects and patients with disorder of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-513
Number of pages9
JournalNeurological Sciences
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

Consciousness
Thalamus
Consciousness Disorders
Diffusion Tensor Imaging
Wakefulness
Brain
Arousal
Short-Term Memory
Neuroimaging
Cognition
Brain Stem
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • Ascending reticular activating system
  • Consciousness
  • Default mode network
  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Neural correlates of consciousness : what we know and what we have to learn! / Calabrò, Rocco Salvatore; Cacciola, Alberto; Bramanti, Placido; Milardi, Demetrio.

In: Neurological Sciences, Vol. 36, No. 4, 01.04.2015, p. 505-513.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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