Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Happens to the Brain in a Coma

In comatose patients, high-traffic brain regions go dark while less active regions spring to life, a new study suggests.

 

What is going on inside the heads of individuals in a coma has been steeped in mystery. Now, a new study finds coma patients have dramatically reorganized brain networks, a finding that could shed light on the mystery of consciousness.

Compared with healthy patients in the study, high-traffic hubs of brain activity are dark in coma patients while more quiet regions spring to life.

"Consciousness may depend on the anatomical location of these hubs in the human brain network," said study co-author Sophie Achard, a statistician at the French National Center for Scientific research in Grenoble.

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