When we are unconscious, our brains experience a communication breakdown. Whether you’re sleeping, under anesthesia or in a coma, unconsciousness is rooted in how different areas of the brain become unable to communicate with one another. This state of unconsciousness has been further explored by researchers from the University of Michigan in three recent studies.
The researchers’ work was based on a theory that Dr. George Mashour, director of the university’s Center for Consciousness Science, developed while in residency back in 2004. The theory, known as “cognitive unbinding,” suggests that anesthesia doesn’t turn the brain off but cuts off the communication between its different areas. That breakdown in communication results in what we know and experience as unconsciousness.
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