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Consciousness at stake: Perspectives from an anaesthetist

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Xavier Moya.

Cognitive neuroscience has benefitted greatly from advances in functional neuroimaging techniques. However, elucidating the neural basis of consciousness has remained one of the unsolved problems in cognitive neuroscience. Research into this field is now expanding rapidly, afforded by an integration of approaches across disciplines such as anaesthesia and sleep. In this talk, I will describe examples from our work and from other laboratories in which experiments involving pharmacological modulation of conscious level are designed to understand how consciousness is impaired under sedation and anaesthesia, and how we regain awareness. These studies use a wide range of neuroimaging tools to measure brain activity while individuals perform cognitive tasks or are simply resting. I will illustrate how data from these experiments, particularly where convergent evidence across techniques is obtained, can be used to understand impaired conscious processing in pathological disorders of consciousness.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society series.

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