Prof. Matthew Larkum | Dendritic Integration Theory - Why anesthesia blocks consciousness

Cognitive Neurology Lecture

  • Date: Jun 2, 2023
  • Time: 01:00 PM - 02:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Prof. Matthew Larkum
  • Institute for Biology, Head of Larkum Lab, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
  • Location: MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Room: Wilhelm Wundt Room (A400)
  • Host: Department of Neurology
Breakthroughs in the understanding the cellular basis of anesthesia suggest that local mechanisms are essential for explaining loss of consciousness. This in turn leads to hypotheses about the essential neurobiological components of consciousness. Here, I show how the biophysical properties of pyramidal cells allow them to act as gates that control the evolution of global activation patterns. In conscious states this cellular mechanism enables complex sustained dynamics within the thalamocortical system, during unconscious states such signal propagation is prohibited. Dendritic Integration Theory (DIT) suggests that the hallmark of conscious processing is the flexible integration of different data streams at the cellular level. This cellular integration mechanism provides the bedrock for a novel neurobiological theory of consciousness and makes specific and testable predictions.
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