Scientists were able to induce hallucinations without the use of drugs and narcotics
Despite the fact that modern medicine has a fairly detailed understanding of the functioning of the human body, some aspects of our physiology are still not solved until the end. And sometimes research aimed at studying the work of one or another system teaches us many surprises. So it was with a team of experts from Stanford University. During the study of the central nervous system they were able to induce hallucinations without the use of drugs and narcotics.
Why do people see the hallucinations?
Hallucinations can be different in its manifestation: a person can hear the sounds, see the silhouettes, feel touch, to smell, in general, to a greater or lesser extent to obtain these or other signals from, as it seems to the outside world. But all kinds of hallucinations are united by one: what happens to a person in the real world does not exist. This is only a subjective perception. But what causes it?
This is interesting: What our brain is capable of?
If you try to explain in simple language, the appearance of hallucinations caused by bursts of activity in the brain. The reasons for this may be very different from the changes in the work of the brain to injury, poisoning or taking hallucinogenic drugs. But recently psychologists from Stanford University were able to induce experimental animals hallucinations a very unusual way.
How can cause hallucinations?
As the editors of the journal Science, scientists have focused on the study of the visual cortex of laboratory mice. This is the part of the brain in mice (as in humans), which processes the information from the retina. Roughly speaking, because of this we can see. In the visual cortex region were implanted 2 gene. The first was in "sleep" state for as long as it did not start to affect the infrared radiation. The second encodes a protein that would glow green whenever cortical neurons would respond to external influence. That is, it shows the "work" at the moment a neuron or not. In addition, part of the mice of the skull has been replaced by a transparent "window" in order to observe how the brain works.
Next, the animals "seated" to the screen and began to teach to distinguish between vertical and horizontal black bars on the screen with a white background. After that, the mice learned to drink water from the tube every time they saw a black vertical stripe. When the training was over, it began the most interesting part of the experiment. Scientists have begun to gradually reduce the contrast between the black stripe and a white background, while the mouse did not cease to understand what they see before them. All this time the experts observed brain activity and noted any area glows green. That is, what kind of work zones. Further, psychologists have used high-precision infrared light emitters in order to "illuminate" precisely those parts of the brain that are responsible for processing information. As a result, it became clear that if it is to stimulate the part of the brain that caused mice to see the vertical line, the rodents began to drink. That is, it turns out that the animals seen vertical bar, but in front of them at that moment was completely white screen.
Perhaps the strangest part of the study is the fact that in order to call hallucinations we needed to stimulate a total of 20 neurons, - says one of the authors of Karl Deisseroth. If we consider that human and mouse brain is very similar in its structure, it can be concluded that the occurrence of hallucinations - much more interesting from the point of view of the physiology of the process. After all, the brain is regularly occur dozens or hundreds of "spontaneous impulses," but it does not lead to the fact that we all see hallucinations. Perhaps there is a "defense mechanism", which is to do the search.
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