The term "hallucination" was first introducedFrench psychiatrist Jean Eskirol in far 1817. For all the past time, scientists have not been able to accurately determine what exactly visual images arise, and what happens at this moment in the human brain. Researchers at the University of Oregon have recently given another confirmation that the cause of visual hallucinations is weak brain activity. This has been proven in an experiment with mice.
From previous studies it was known thatvisual hallucinations, caused by schizophrenia or psychotropic substances, are caused by the activity of brain serotonin-2A receptors. Since they are actively involved in the generation of visual images, the researchers decided to feed the drug that stimulates these receptors to a group of laboratory mice.
Understand what the mouse really seeshallucinations, scientists helped unexpected movements of the paws and heads of animals. During the study of brain activity, they made a very unexpected conclusion - when the mouse sees hallucinations, the nervous signaling of the visual cortex is in a weakened state. This means that the drug caused hallucinations, reducing the amount of visual information in the brain - this result seemed very contradictory to researchers.
It was believed that visual hallucinations are causedhigh brain neuron activity. We were surprised to find that the hallucinogenic drug instead led to a decrease in the activity of the visual cortex.
Chris Neill, Senior Research Author
The researchers concluded that the decreaseactivity in the visual cortex leads to the fact that other areas of the brain feel a lack of information and begin to fill the void with non-existent images. This is quite similar to the truth - one only needs to recall an experiment in which poker player Rich Alati began to see hallucinations while in complete darkness. In an isolated room, his brain felt a lack of information, and began to invent new images.
The new discovery will help in the followingexperiments. For example, in the future, researchers want to carry out gene manipulations to study brain activity in more detail. Scientists hope that eventually they will be able to create a method to alleviate the effects of schizophrenia and other problems associated with hallucinations.
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