The claustrum


Francis Crick, one of the famous discoverers of the DNA structure and one of the formulators of the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology, used his prestige, which was great, to encourage research into consciousness. He did this because he liked to go after the big, important questions. And he felt that consciousness had been neglected and was ripe to be investigated. Crick made brain research acceptable and even popular.

At the time of his death, he was interested in the claustrum. His ideas on this were less developed then was usual of Crick in his papers. But he was in a hurry to leave this idea behind before he died. Here is the abstract from the review paper, What is the function of the claustrum?, by F. Crick and C. Koch in Phil. Trans. R. soc. B 2005 (here):

The claustrum is a thin, irregular, sheet-like neuronal structure hidden beneath the inner surface of the neocortex in the general region of the insula. Its function is enigmatic. Its anatomy is quite remarkable in that it receives input from almost all regions of cortex and projects back to almost all regions of cortex. We here briefly summarize what is known about the claustrum, speculate on its possible relationship to the processes that give rise to integrated conscious percepts, propose mechanisms that enable information to travel widely within the claustrum and discuss experiments to address these questions.

We will see what comes of it in future.


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