Neural activity inside the “black box” of brain

Jul 26, 2018, 8:24 AM EDT
(Source: balapagos/flickr)
(Source: balapagos/flickr)

The role of giant, oversized neurons in an area deep in the brainstem in elevating general awareness and stimulating consciousness and cognition has held a fascination for researchers. A team of scientists at Rockefeller University claims to have figured out the mysterious mechanisms in this “black box” region of the brain.

The neurons, under study, release an enzyme that produces nitric oxide, a chemical that modulates awareness and consciousness levels by relaxing blood vessels and increasing tissue oxygenation, writes New Atlas.

The researchers found that external stimuli like novel scents triggered these giant neurons to produce higher amounts of nitric oxide, which shows their key role in arousal when an animal is adapting to a new environment, notes EurekAlert.