Scientists have found the point in the human brain, whose stimulation can lead to loss of consciousness. Once the patient regains consciousness, they have no memory of what's happened.
Dr. Mohamad Koubeissi and his colleagues from George Washington University carried out an experiment on a 54-year-old woman suffering from epilepsy, using electrical impulses.
The scientists focused on one specific point of her brain and discovered that if they stimulated it, they can cause the patient to lose consciousness.
After they brought the epileptic woman back into consciousness, she stated in front of the scientific team that she had no memory of what had transpired.
Consciousness is the state where you are aware of the surrounding environment, and its absence is usually linked with sleep.
The scientists' experiment, however, had not managed to answer the questions related to the process of sleep. The newly discovered point is defined by scientists as a switch, which can be used to control a person.
In the clinical study, the scientists used low-frequency stimulation of the brain to decrease the number of epileptic episodes in the 54-year-old patient. According to Dr. Koubeissi, electrical brain stimulation has the ability to reduce seizures by 92% in those suffering from epilepsy, without damaging memory.
"This is an innovatory clinical test, which aims to show the new ways of reducing seizures in people with temporal lobe epilepsy, which is intractable to treatment, and who are in danger of permanent memory loss. We're hoping that in a few years, the results will lead to better treatment of these patients, " stated the doctor, who is also head of the study.
The point which was stimulated in the study is called the claustrum and is located on the underside of the brain. During loss of consciousness, the patient did not answer commands, stared at one point in space and her breathing slowed.
The scientists from George Washington University say that their findings can help coma patients by stimulating the claustrum in order to bring them back to consciousness.