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      What is the function of the claustrum?

      Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

      Basal Ganglia, anatomy & histology, physiology, Consciousness, Humans, Interneurons, cytology, Models, Neurological

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          Abstract

          The claustrum is a thin, irregular, sheet-like neuronal structure hidden beneath the inner surface of the neocortex in the general region of the insula. Its function is enigmatic. Its anatomy is quite remarkable in that it receives input from almost all regions of cortex and projects back to almost all regions of cortex. We here briefly summarize what is known about the claustrum, speculate on its possible relationship to the processes that give rise to integrated conscious percepts, propose mechanisms that enable information to travel widely within the claustrum and discuss experiments to address these questions.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Consciousness and complexity.

           G Edelman,  G Tononi (1998)
          Conventional approaches to understanding consciousness are generally concerned with the contribution of specific brain areas or groups of neurons. By contrast, it is considered here what kinds of neural processes can account for key properties of conscious experience. Applying measures of neural integration and complexity, together with an analysis of extensive neurological data, leads to a testable proposal-the dynamic core hypothesis-about the properties of the neural substrate of consciousness.
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            Two networks of electrically coupled inhibitory neurons in neocortex.

            Inhibitory interneurons are critical to sensory transformations, plasticity and synchronous activity in the neocortex. There are many types of inhibitory neurons, but their synaptic organization is poorly understood. Here we describe two functionally distinct inhibitory networks comprising either fast-spiking (FS) or low-threshold spiking (LTS) neurons. Paired-cell recordings showed that inhibitory neurons of the same type were strongly interconnected by electrical synapses, but electrical synapses between different inhibitory cell types were rare. The electrical synapses were strong enough to synchronize spikes in coupled interneurons. Inhibitory chemical synapses were also common between FS cells, and between FS and LTS cells, but LTS cells rarely inhibited one another. Thalamocortical synapses, which convey sensory information to the cortex, specifically and strongly excited only the FS cell network. The electrical and chemical synaptic connections of different types of inhibitory neurons are specific, and may allow each inhibitory network to function independently.
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              A framework for consciousness.

              Here we summarize our present approach to the problem of consciousness. After an introduction outlining our general strategy, we describe what is meant by the term 'framework' and set it out under ten headings. This framework offers a coherent scheme for explaining the neural correlates of (visual) consciousness in terms of competing cellular assemblies. Most of the ideas we favor have been suggested before, but their combination is original. We also outline some general experimental approaches to the problem and, finally, acknowledge some relevant aspects of the brain that have been left out of the proposed framework.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                16147522
                1569501
                10.1098/rstb.2005.1661

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