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I found this story very interesting. It relates to an area of the brain called the claustrum. Neauroscientists, working with a woman with epilepsy, accidentally found that electrical stimulation of this area caused the woman to lose conscious awareness, while remaining awake. The idea is that this area of the brain ties together different sensory experiences into a coherent awareness of the world, but by stimulating it, it is no longer able to create this awareness.

http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=00300063UY6O

As the new study explains, when GW researchers zapped a woman's claustrum with high frequency electrical impulses, she subsequently lost consciousness. The claustrum shocks caused -- as researchers explained -- "arrest of volitional behavior, unresponsiveness, and amnesia without negative motor symptoms or mere aphasia."

When shocked, the woman remained open-eyed, but seemingly blank -- staring ahead, unaware of the world around her.

"I would liken it to a car," explained Koubeissi. "A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement -- the gas, the transmission, the engine -- but there's only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together."

"So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks -- we may have found the key," added Koubeissi.
It is only one case, on a woman with epilepsy and part of her hippocampus removed, but it's potentially a very informative discovery.
 

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Fascinating, albeit creepy, discovery.

"Ultimately, if we know how consciousness is created and which parts of the brain are involved then we can understand who has it and who doesn't," said Koch. "Do robots have it? Do fetuses? Does a cat or dog or worm? This study is incredibly intriguing but it is one brick in a large edifice of consciousness that we're trying to build."
I see where this is going. Sign me up for a robot body, please. No, **** that, clone me and put my consciousness in a preserved me. Preferably aged to 21. :b
 

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I can say this Is VERY ironic and sort of the answer to a question I had a couple days ago.. well I work in a warehouse and I have this one particular job where I'm taking plastic totes off of a conveyor and it creates alot of friction so I would get shocked everytime I touched the metal carts we use. I live a very unconscious life now than wht I use to I'm not as aware I don't pay attention to nearly as much detail as I use to and I go through a tough time coping and understanding things long story short after I had been getting shocked I can say I became a bit more conscious than blank,my life for a second was full of detail I understood things that were confusing to me more clearer which allowed me to do my job more efficiently.. I do have depression and anxiety issues.
 
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