[Neuro] possible target brain structures for tdcs induced wakefulness

Mike Schachter mschachter at eigenminds.com
Tue Jan 8 02:30:18 UTC 2013


I heard a talk a few months ago by Yuri Saalman, who studies the pulvinar -
a higher region of the thalamus that facilitates cortico-cortical
connections for the visual system. It's pretty concrete work on visual
attention, not so consciousness-y, but probably relevant.

There's two major functional divisions for regions in the thalamus, the
"drivers", which "relay" sensory input from peripheral regions like the
cochlear nucleus and retina and send it to cortex, and the "modulators",
which connect cortex to cortex. If you're into long range connections and
coherence, then the modulator regions of the thalamus are probably where
you want to be looking.

 mike






On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM, Anthony Di Franco <di.franco at gmail.com>wrote:

> Really, I just want to understand its interactions with cortex better,
> with reference to some thoughts I have on a computational model of cortex,
> and the idea that consciousness, whatever that is, rather let's say
> wakefulness, has something to do with global coherence, thus long-range
> communication.
>  This paper has really cool recordings:
> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394010011857
> But basically just focuses on "thalamus probably regulates sleep
> related LFP oscillations in some way". Note also that "coherence" is a
> non-directional measure, so the causality they discuss is purely
> hypothetical.
>
> Why are you interested in the thalamus's role in sleep regulation?
> aside from having an implant (like the people in that study), there is
> little potential application at this point. It's a very interesting
> brain region though. There's a lot of interesting consciousness
> literature on it.
>
> -K
>
> On Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 10:04 PM, Anthony Di Franco <di.franco at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Can anyone recommend reading on sleep/wakefulness that focuses on the
> role
> > of the thalamus?
> >
> > On Dec 15, 2012 5:08 PM, "Jonathan Toomim" <jtoomim at jtoomim.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> Note: I didn't read the article.
> >>
> >> The areas of the brain that are most strongly causally related to
> >> wakefulness (e.g. reticular formation, locus ceruleus; suprachiasmatic
> >> nucleus of the hypothalamus) are all brainstem or midbrain nuclei. As
> such,
> >> they're far from the scalp and not readily targeted with tDCS.
> >>
> >>
> >> On 12/14/2012 12:30 PM, Sarah Tappon wrote:
> >>>
> >>> FWIW, that paper sets off my sketch alarms because:
> >>> a) it is published in a journal that isn't even a brain imaging or
> >>> neuroscience journal, much less a reputable one
> >>> b) the article name-drops the authors' commercial product spin-off
> >>> c) the article and abstract are written as though nothing is known
> >>> about the neurobiology of sleep deprivation and it's breaking new
> >>> ground, and the study seems exploratory and doesn't mention any
> >>> hypotheses, which is weird since people have been doing fMRI studies
> >>> of sleep dep for like a decade now
> >>> d) they don't relate the brain changes to either self-reported
> >>> sleepiness or performance on their task (or if they did, they must not
> >>> have found much, since it isn't in the abstract and it's the obvious
> >>> thing you'd want to look at).
> >>>
> >>> Of course it's hard to say for sure without reading the full study,
> >>> but given the high proportion of mediocre-to-terrible fMRI work that
> >>> exists in the world, I recommend always erring on the side of
> >>> skepticism in these matters.
> >>>
> >>> That being said, I think we should try targeting parietal cortex for
> >>> sure, as it is heavily involved in visual working memory and
> >>> attention, which interrelate with abstract reasoning and fluid
> >>> intelligence in all sorts of interesting ways.
> >>>
> >>> We can't target thalamus or anterior cingulate because they aren't on
> >>> the surface of the brain.
> >>>
> >>> Tangentially: anterior cingulate is active in basically every fMRI
> >>> study of every cognitive process ever, so if you ever read any fMRI
> >>> paper talking about how "ACC activity is associated with blah blah
> >>> blah!" be aware that that is not telling you much. (See:
> >>>
> >>>
> http://www.sacklerinstitute.org/cornell/summer_institute/ARCHIVE/2006/papers/Poldrack/Poldrack.inpress.trends.pdf
> >>> which is great and everyone should read!)
> >>>
> >>> Sarah
> >>>
> >>> On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 3:37 AM, LinkReincarnate
> >>> <linkreincarnate at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/253842.php
> >>>>
> >>>> If we stimulate those sections of the brain would we have a more
> >>>> noticeable
> >>>> affect on thought processes?  Is it possible to mitigate the downsides
> >>>> of a
> >>>> lack of sleep?
> >>>>
> >>>>
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