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Mind, brain and altered states of consciousness

  • Autori: Maldonato, M.; Sperandeo, R.; Dell'Orco, S.; Iennaco, D.; Cerroni, F.; Romano, P.; Salerno, M.; Maltese, A.; Roccella, M.; Parisi, L.; Tripi, G.; Moscatelli, F.; Sessa, F.; Monica, S.; Cibelli, G.; Messina, G.; Monda, M.; Chieffi, S.; Villano, I.; Monda, V.; Messina, A.; Ruberto, M.; Marsala, G.; Valenzano, A.; Rosamarotta, N.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2018
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: Alterated states; Consciousness; Global workspace; Memory; Mid-brain; Time; Medicine (all)
  • OA Link:


The consciousness is the expression of an enormous and complex variety of neurobiological events, phenomenological and psychological that, from the early stages of development, prepare the emergence soil of the Self. It is a complex of tangible and intangible characters distinct from one another - neural infrastructure, awareness, temporality, qualitative subjectivity, intentionality - to such an extent as to seem welded faces of the same prism. Consciousness is not a simple function of the mind, but its organization. In this paper we intend to show how its order is not strictly hierarchical, but sustained by multiple horizontal levels, each of which in a structural and functional continuum with several emerging phenomena. The same distinction between quantitative aspects (surveillance) and qualitative (content of consciousness) of consciousness is founded on the premise that the supervision is regulated by widespread in projection systems of the brain stem, hypothalamus and thalamus; while the content of consciousness depends on the cortical activity, and particularly from the associative areas of the cortex connected between them. The so-called disturbances of consciousness (vegetative state, the minimally conscious state, a coma, the Locked in syndrome) suggests the existence of an alteration of a common underlying system. Although the current heterogeneity of the data makes it impossible to attribute with certainty whether positive or negative about the alleged absence of consciousness in the individual patient, the search is deriving significant benefits from the accumulation of neuroimaging evidence in paintings like coma, general anesthesia , sleep, epilepsy and somnambulism. In this sense, it seems increasingly urgent a deeper understanding of the neural correlates during sleep or general anesthesia, as well as the relationships between neural processes and altered states of consciousness generated by pharmacological manipulations.