Monday, June 4, 2012

Primitive Brain Responds First

When people return to consciousness after receiving anesthesia, a more primitive area of their brains--the brainstem--becomes active first, followed by the thalamus, the hypothalamus, and the anterior  cingulate cortex in the frontal lobe, a study reported April 4 in The Journal of Neuroscience has found. These brain structures thus appear to form a foundation for the conscious state, the scientists believe. The same structures also activate upon awakening from natural stage-two sleep. Other researchers have found that restored activity in the anterior cingulate cortex correlates with the level of responsiveness in brain-injured patients.

More information about the brain function of traumatic brain-injured patients can be found in Psychiatric News here. More information about traumatic brain injury in general can be found in the American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury, Second Edition.

(Image: Jeffrey Collingwood /


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