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A Project investigating the Transitions of Consciousness initiates in Cambridge

How do we fall asleep? How do we lose consciousness while being sedated? How do we regain awareness?

These are the questions which will be tackled by Cambridge Neuroscientists Dr. Tristan Bekinschtein from the MRC Cambridge Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit who has just been awarded a prestigous five year Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Science. It is the aim of this Transitions of Consciousness project to map the behaviour and brain activity while our consciousness is fading (and coming back).

Tristan Bekinschtein (pictured right) and collaborators will measure brain activity while individuals are listening to, or responding to, a series of sounds or words while falling asleep or undergoing sedation. Such tasks will allow them to investigate the ways in which the mental abilities we employ while awake, such as paying attention and decision making, change as we fall into natural or induced states of unconsciousness, and how they are
recovered when we get back to be fully conscious. 

This project builds on the successful developments of Cambridge Neuroscience Community putting together experiments to be run at the MRC-CBU and the Clinical School (Herschel-Smith, Division of Anaesthesia, Wellcome Trust Clinical Research facility, Wolfson Imaging Centre), and it has many exciting applications in neuroscientific research and in the clinic.

The award covers EEG-MRI scanning, computing costs, equipment and a research assistant for five years.

Posted on 06/01/2011

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