The neurology of self awareness
29 slide(s) – 00:22:46– English –2010-09-27
While classical neurology deals mostly with well-defined cerebral functions, such as motor, sensory, visual or linguistic systems, the majority of brain metabolism is directed to brain activity in other parts of the cerebral cortex, comprising the so-called “intrinsic” system. The “intrinsic” system maintains essential functions related to one's own self, such as agency of actions, ownership of body, social interaction with one's environment, own autobiographical memory, and its reflection in one's future plans. It is proposed that several neuropsychiatric conditions of “psychogenic” origin, such as psychogenic seizures, psychogenic amnesia or mood disorders, are related to dysfunction of the “intrinsic” system. Functional investigations (fMRI, electrical neuroimaging, PET) reveal selective alterations of brain activity and rhythms in the intrinsic system during such psychogenic conditions, but not during epileptic seizures or normal periods. This suggests that psychogenic symptoms are characterized by abnormal, non-epileptic, activity in the self-related “intrinsic” system of the cerebral cortex.