Consciousness: and brain damage (General)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 00:53 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

This review article demonstrates how much consciousness function can survive a variety of brain injuries or abnormalities:

"Abstract: Neuroscientists typically assume that human mental functions are
generated by the brain and that its structural elements, including the different cell
layers and tissues that form the neocortex, play specific roles in this complex process.
Different functional units are thought to complement one another to create
an integrated self-awareness or episodic memory. Still, findings that pertain to
brain dysplasia and brain lesions indicate that in some individuals there is a considerable
discrepancy between the cerebral structures and cognitive functioning.
This seems to question the seemingly well-defined role of these brain structures.
This article provides a review of such remarkable cases. It contains overviews of
noteworthy aspects of hydrocephalus, hemihydranencephaly, hemispherectomy,
and certain abilities of “savants.” We add considerations on memory processing,
comment on the assumed role of neural plasticity in these contexts, and highlight
the importance of taking such anomalies into account when formulating
encompassing models of brain functioning."


"how important the usual
anatomy of the brain and its cellular layers really is. It still needs to be
determined according to which principles the involved synapses, cells,
and tissues of the brain successfully organize their fine-tuned neural circuits
under such abnormal anatomical and physiological conditions.
This problem is even more apparent after hemispherectomies in which,
for example, the language center was removed along with the malfunctioning
hemisphere. Assuming that a given brain structure dictates
the mental capacities of the individual, it remains difficult to explain
how the remaining brain structures and their neural activities can
“know” that a “language center” is missing now, and how these neurons
induce and guide its duplication in their own hemisphere. Majorek
(2012) argued that this activity requires the existence of a higher control
center that would be able to detect this gap in function and to initiate
steps that lead to its mending. He stressed that so far, the existence of
such a control center in the brain has not been reported and that, given
the decentralized organization of the brain, itwould be difficult to imagine
where such a control center could be located.

"Indeed, one might wonder whether such processes of reorganization
are purely self-organizing processes of neuronal tissue in response
to external stimuli, or whether the mind or “the self ” actively participates
in these processes. Several studies suggest that the brain can indeed be altered by mental stimuli and processes on the molecular, cellular,
and neural circuit levels. In a review focusing on neuroimaging
studies, Beauregard (2007) summarized examples of mental influence
on brain structure from research into emotional self-regulation, psychotherapy,
and placebo experiments. He concluded that these studies
strongly support the view that thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and volition
do exert a causal influence on brain plasticity, and he pointed to the obvious
fact that mental causation is an essential ingredient for successful
therapies. This is, of course, also valid for patients who train to regain
lost faculties after strokes, hemispherectomy, or brain injuries. The degree
of success in rewiring the brain is clearly dependent on the patients'
volition and purposeful training. According to Beauregard (2007), such
findings call into question positions in which all mental processes are
thought to be entirely reducible to biochemical processes.

"In sum, the relation between the brain's structure and its functional
capacities, and the principles that govern neural rewiring processes after
or during developmental damage are still poorly understood. The cases
presented in this article highlight that there is still much to learn about
“the brain and its self ” from a neurobiological perspective.
On the basis of the different cases of discrepancy between cerebral
and cognitive functioning discussed in the present article, some authors
doubt that the brain serves as a comprehensive memory store, arguing
that its function more closely resembles a receptor or transmitter of
memory and allied cognitive processes."

Comment: Bruce Greyson has described and agrees with the way consciousness leaves the brain in NDE's. He is quoted in my first book. I believe consciousness as an operative entity uses the brain to bridge these problems.

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