Karen Quinlan

HARRY R. ERWIN herwin at mason1.gmu.edu
Mon Jul 11 14:06:37 EST 1994

William Saidel (saidel at crab.rutgers.edu) wrote:

: Nancy Andreason showed at a meeting in D.C. last summer, her attempt
: to normalize brains as seen in image slices. She then compared the
: brains of normals vs. clinically defined schizophrenics and showed
: images suggesting that the sensory thalamus was highly underdeveloped
: or atrophied (remarkably smaller than norm) leaving me with a hint
: that perhaps the voices and the images schizophrenics report were
: constructed, perhaps because the operations of a brain cannot tolerate
: (?, not sure how to describe this state) empty space.
:   Coupling that with responses of individuals in isolation chambers
: (visions and voices, etc.), leads me to conclude that if K.Q. had
: destroyed her sensory thalamus, she had no contact with the outside
: world. If she had no contact, then there is no way to even talk about
: her consciousness since she could not report about it to another.

In the olfactory system, there is a mechanism by which a noise signal
added to the afferent signal prevents habituation to background. This
noise signal is not strong compared with the sensory signal, but in the
presence of an attenuated sensory signal, it is likely to be noticeable.
If this carries over to other sensory modalities, I would ->expect<-
visions and voices. I would also expect maintenance of consciousness if 
the feedback pathways required in unlesioned brains for sensory input 
were still in existence.

Harry Erwin
Internet: herwin at gmu.edu 
Just a dumb engineer working on Katchalsky nets....

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