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Medicine Science

New Imaging Technique Helps Explain Unconsciousness 78

smitty777 writes "A new imaging technique called fEITER (for functional Electrical Impedance Tomography by Evoked Response) attempts to explain the process of slipping into unconsciousness. The fEITER is a portable device that creates 3D imagery based on evoked potentials measured hundreds of times a second. The interesting finding from these studies is that unconsciousness appears to result from a buildup of inhibitor neurons. From the article: 'Our findings suggest that unconsciousness may be the increase of inhibitory assemblies across the brain's cortex. These findings lend support to Greenfield's hypothesis of neural assemblies forming consciousness.'"
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New Imaging Technique Helps Explain Unconsciousness

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  • by yarnosh ( 2055818 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @04:14PM (#36486746)

    When they can reduce this from a trolleycart -sized instrument to something one can support on one's head, then we'll see some more practical and less academic applications. (Yes, like porn. And games. And real virtual reality control of UAVs and waldoes.) Keep in mind that in the 80's, realtime Heads-Up Displays were this large and cumbersome... now look at them.

    Are you, perhaps, confusing reading neural activity with sending specific information into the brain? As far as I can tell, the technology in the article is only for reading neurons activity, not altering them. And even at that, there's no indication that you can extract any real information out of the readings (thoughts, intentions, etc). It is simply an image of activity. I think you're reading WAYYY more into this technology than is there.

  • by Fred Ferrigno ( 122319 ) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @05:48PM (#36487106)

    You're upset that the researchers don't also assume that consciousness is some other kind of thing beyond material investigation. The researchers have no need for that assumption unless and until the evidence leads them there.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler