Lowell, MA, United States
Lowell, MA, United States

Time filter

Source Type

Ashtari M.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Cyckowski L.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Yazdi A.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia | Yazdi A.,Yale University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

A phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without any light actually entering the eye is called phosphenes or photopsias. Phosphenes can occur spontaneously or via induction by external stimuli. Previous reports regarding phosphenes have primarily focused on externally induced phosphenes such as by applying alternating or direct current to the cortex. A few of these reports used functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) to study activations induced by cortical phosphenes. However, there are no fMRI reports on spontaneous phosphenes originating from the retina and the resulting pattern of cortical activations. We performed fMRI during a reversing checkerboard paradigm in three LCA patients who underwent unilateral gene therapy and reported experiencing frequent phosphene on a daily basis. We observed bilateral cortical activation covering the entire visual cortices when patients reported experiencing phosphenes. In contrast, in the absence of phosphenes, activation was regulated by patient's visual ability and demonstrated improved cortical activation due to gene therapy. These fMRI results illustrate the potential impact of phosphene perception on visual function and they may explain some of the variability that clinicians find in visual function testing in retinal degeneration. Although we did not perform correlations between visual function and phosphenes, we hope data presented here raises awareness of this phenomenon and its potential effect on visual function and the implications for clinical testing. We recommend a thorough history for phosphene experiences be taken in patients with retinal disease who are candidates for gene or molecular therapy. Lastly, these data illustrate the potential power of fMRI as an outcome measure of gene therapy and the negative impact phosphenes may have on vision testing. fMRI has proven to be a sensitive, non-invasive, and reproducible test paradigm for these purposes and can complement standard visual function testing. © 2014 Ashtari et al.


Mehta R.,Jawaharlal Nehru University | Singh A.,Jawaharlal Nehru University | Bokkon I.,National Center for Spinal Disorders | Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Mallick B.N.,Jawaharlal Nehru University
Current Neuropharmacology | Year: 2016

Sleep is an essential physiological process, which has been divided into rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and non-REMS (NREMS) in higher animals. REMS is a unique phenomenon that unlike other sleep-waking states is not under voluntary control. Directly or indirectly it influences or gets influenced by most of the physiological processes controlled by the brain. It has been proposed that REMS serves housekeeping function of the brain. Extensive research has shown that during REMS at least noradrenaline (NA) -ergic neurons must cease activity and upon REMS loss, there are increased levels of NA in the brain, which then induces many of the REMS loss associated acute and chronic effects. The NA level is controlled by many bio-molecules that are regulated at the molecular and transcriptional levels. Similarly, NA can also directly or indirectly modulate the synthesis and levels of many molecules, which in turn may affect physiological processes. The burgeoning field of behavioral neuroepigenetics has gained importance in recent years and explains the regulatory mechanisms underlying several behavioral phenomena. As REMS and its loss associated changes in NA modulate several pathophysiological processes, in this review we have attempted to explain on one hand how the epigenetic mechanisms regulating the gene expression of factors like tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), monoamine oxidase (MAO), noradrenaline transporter (NAT) control NA levels and on the other hand, how NA per se can affect other molecules in neural circuitry at the epigenetic level resulting in behavioral changes in health and diseases. An understanding of these events will expose the molecular basis of REMS and its loss-associated pathophysiological changes; which are presented as a testable hypothesis for confirmation. © 2016 Bentham Science Publishers.


Bokkon I.,Semmelweis University | Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Vimal R.L.P.,Vision Research Institute | Vimal R.L.P.,C O NiceTech Computer Education Institute
BioSystems | Year: 2010

Although primary visual cortex (V1 or striate) activity per se is not sufficient for visual apperception (normal conscious visual experiences and conscious functions such as detection, discrimination, and recognition), the same is also true for extrastriate visual areas (such as V2, V3, V4/V8/VO, V5/M5/MST, IT, and GF). In the lack of V1 area, visual signals can still reach several extrastriate parts but appear incapable of generating normal conscious visual experiences. It is scarcely emphasized in the scientific literature that conscious perceptions and representations must have also essential energetic conditions. These energetic conditions are achieved by spatiotemporal networks of dynamic mitochondrial distributions inside neurons. However, the highest density of neurons in neocortex (number of neurons per degree of visual angle) devoted to representing the visual field is found in retinotopic V1. It means that the highest mitochondrial (energetic) activity can be achieved in mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase-rich V1 areas. Thus, V1 bear the highest energy allocation for visual representation.In addition, the conscious perceptions also demand structural conditions, presence of adequate duration of information representation, and synchronized neural processes and/or 'interactive hierarchical structuralism.' For visual apperception, various visual areas are involved depending on context such as stimulus characteristics such as color, form/shape, motion, and other features. Here, we focus primarily on V1 where specific mitochondrial-rich retinotopic structures are found; we will concisely discuss V2 where smaller riches of these structures are found. We also point out that residual brain states are not fully reflected in active neural patterns after visual perception. Namely, after visual perception, subliminal residual states are not being reflected in passive neural recording techniques, but require active stimulation to be revealed. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Mallick B.N.,Jawaharlal Nehru University | Tuszynski J.A.,University of Alberta
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Recently, we proposed a novel biophysical concept regarding on the appearance of brilliant lights during near death experiences (NDEs) (Bókkon and Salari, 2012). Specifically, perceiving brilliant light in NDEs has been proposed to arise due to the reperfusion that produces unregulated overproduction of free radicals and energetically excited molecules that can generate a transient enhancement of bioluminescent biophotons in different areas of the brain, including retinotopic visual areas. If this excess of bioluminescent photon emission exceeds a threshold in retinotopic visual areas, this can appear as (phosphene) lights because the brain interprets these intrinsic retinotopic bioluminescent photons as if they originated from the external physical world. Here, we review relevant literature that reported experimental studies (Imaizumi et al., 1984; Suzuki et al., 1985) that essentially support our previously published conception, i.e., that seeing lights in NDEs may be due to the transient enhancement of bioluminescent biophotons. Next, we briefly describe our biophysical visual representation model that may explain brilliant lights experienced during NDEs (by phosphenes as biophotons) and REM sleep associated dream-like intrinsic visual imageries through biophotons in NDEs. Finally, we link our biophysical visual representation notion to self-consciousness that may involve extremely low-energy quantum entanglements. This article is intended to introduce novel concepts for discussion and does not pretend to give the ultimate explanation for the currently unanswerable questions about matter, life and soul; their creation and their interrelationship. © 2013 Bókkon, Mallick and Tuszynski.


Bokkon I.,Semmelweis University | Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Mallick B.N.,Jawaharlal Nehru University
Activitas Nervosa Superior | Year: 2012

The latest experimental results support that multiple retinotopic visual systems play a central role not only in the processing of visual signals but also in the integration and processing of internally represented auditory and tactile information. These retinotopic maps have access to higher levels of cognitive processing, performed by the frontal lobes, for example. The occipital cortex may have a special role in multisensory integration. There is a functional basis for the development and maturation of visual memory in association of rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) which is linked to dreams and visual imagery. Physiological and psychological processes of REMS are similar to waking visual imagery. Furthermore, visual imagery during REMS utilize a common visual neural pathway similar to that used in wakefulness. This pathway subserves visual processes accompanied with auditory experiences and intrinsic feelings. We argue that the activation of the retinotopic visual areas is central to REM sleep associated dreams and that REMS associated dreaming and visual imagery may have co-evolved in homeothermic animals during evolution. We also suggest that protoconscious state during REM sleep, as introduced by Hobson many years ago, may be a basic visual process.


Bokkon I.,Semmelweis University | Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Salari V.,Kerman Medical University | Salari V.,Afzal Research Institute
Medical Hypotheses | Year: 2012

In near death experiences (NDEs), seeing a brilliant light may arise in the recovery period following cardiac arrest, but the subjects can think that these experiences had happened during the actual period itself. Here we hypothesize a biophysical explanation about the encounter with a brilliant light in NDEs. Accordingly, meeting brilliant light in NDEs is due to the reperfusion that induces unregulated overproduction of free radicals and excited biomolecules among them in numerous parts in the visual system. Unregulated free radicals and excited species can produce a transient increase of bioluminescent photons in different areas of the visual system. If this excess of bioluminescent photon emission exceeds a threshold, they can appear as (phosphene) lights in our mind. In other words, seeing a brilliant light in NDEs may due to bioluminescent photons simultaneously generated in the recovery phase of numerous areas of the visual system and the brain interprets these intrinsic bioluminescent photons as if they were originated from the external visual world. Although our biophysical explanation about brilliant light phenomenon in NDEs can be promising, we do not reject further potential notions. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Theory of everything must include consciousness. In this article, we focus on introducing the subjective experience (SE) aspect of consciousness in modern quantum physics, namely, loop quantum gravity (LQG) and string theory by using the methodology of examining invariance of these theories under the PE-SE transformations, where PEs (proto-experiences) are precursors of SEs. In our dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework, (i) each of strings, loops, elementary particles, inert matter, or neural-networks has physical (material) and mental aspects, and (ii) there are three competing hypotheses: superposition based H1, superposition-then-integration H2, and integration based H3 as discussed in Part I. In Part I and Part II of this series of 3 articles, we introduced the SE aspect of consciousness in classical and orthodox quantum physics, respectively, which are invariant under PE-SE transformations. In the current Part III, the critical components of LQG with Palatini action appear invariant under this transformation. In string theory, for H1 and H2, we quantitatively introduce the superposition of potential experiences (SEs/PEs) in the mental aspect of bosonic and fermionic strings using the Polyakov action. We find that experiences are independent of the time-like and space-like parameters (τ, σ). This is interpreted as a string is a dual-aspect entity and all fundamental potential SEs/PEs that are superposed in the mental aspect of the string remain invariant with time and space. The introduction of mental aspect in this manner suggests that the mental aspect of string could be in all dimensions: both (3+1)D real dimensions and also in the hidden dimensions that are compactified (curled up). In addition, the Neumann and Dirichlet boundary conditions were also satisfied. These led us to conclude that the physical aspect of the behavior of system in string theory remains invariant under the introduction of experiences aspect of consciousness in the mental aspect of strings. For hypothesis H3, the equations of string theory remain the same as they are; we simply need to acknowledge that a string has dual-aspect; its mental aspect is string-PE. Furthermore, if the introduction of SE aspect of consciousness in string theory is interpreted to imply that experiences are independent of time and space in all dimensions, it may not be true in conscious beings. This is because SEs change with subjects across space and time. This fact is revealed in the introduction of SE aspect of consciousness in general theory of relativity of classical physics: (i) For the structure of spacetime (empty space or the vacuum without matter), potential SEs are superposed in the mental aspect of spacetime and are embedded in spacetime geometry. (ii) For matter field, potential SEs/PEs are superposed in the mental aspect of each elementary particle (fermion or boson including graviton); wherever these particles move, superposed potential SEs/PEs must also move with them to conserve the superposed potential SEs/PEs. (iii) However, since our specific SE is the result of matching and selection processes that actualize/realize the relevant potential SE, the SE can change with space and time. For example, the neural correlate/analog of experiencing redness is V4/V8/VO-red-green neural-net with redness state. When a subject moves, the specific SE redness also moves with the subject's correlated neural-net. SEs also change with time as stimuli change. In other words, SEs in a subject change with spacetime. We conclude that it is possible to unify SEs/PEs aspect of consciousness with all four fundamental physical forces by the introduction of (i) potential SEs/PEs (as in H1) or PEs (as in H2) in latent superposed form in the mental aspect of bosonic and fermionic strings or (ii) the bosonic-string-PE and fermionic-string-PE based on integration principle (as in H3). This leads us towards the theory of everything.


Theory of everything must include consciousness. In this Part I of the series of three articles, we introduce the subjective experience (SE) and/or proto-experience (PE) aspect of consciousness in classical physics, where PEs are precursors of SEs. In our dual-aspect-dual-mode PE-SE framework, it was hypothesized that fundamental entities (strings or elementary particles: fermions and bosons) have two aspects: (i) material aspect such as mass, charge, spin, and space-time, and (ii) mental aspect, such as experiences. There are three competing hypotheses: (1) superposition based Hi (SEs/PEs are superposed in the mental aspect of entities; when a specific stimulus is presented to the neural-network, the associated specific SE is selected by the matching and selection process and experienced by this network), (2) superposition-then-integration based H2 (only PEs are superposed, which are integrated by neural-Darwinism leading to specific SEs) and (3) integration based H3 (each entity has its own PE, which keeps on transforming appropriately as matter evolves from elementary particles to neural-networks; it is a dual-aspect panpsychism). We found that the followings, in classical physics, are invariant under the PE-SE transformation: electromagnetic strength tensor, electromagnetic stress-energy tensor, the electromagnetic theory (Maxwell's equations), Newtonian gravitational field, the entropic force, Special and General Theory of Relativity. Our analysis suggests that (i) SEs are embedded in space-time geometry for the structure of space-time (empty space or the vacuum without matter). (ii) For matter field, SEs can move with spatiotemporal coordinates of matter because it is in the mental aspect of matter as both mental and material aspects are always together in the dual-aspect-dual-mode optimal PE-SE framework. (iii) Our specific SE is the result of matching and selection processes and can change with space and time. For example, the experience redness has V4/V8/VO-red-green neural-network with redness-state as neural correlates. When a subject moves, the specific SE redness also moves with the subject's correlated neural-network. In addition, SEs can change with time as stimuli change. In other words, SEs in a subject change with space-time. We conclude that it is possible to introduce the SE/PE aspect of consciousness in classical physics. In Parts II and III, the SE aspect of consciousness will be introduced in orthodox quantum physics and modern quantum physics (such as loop quantum gravity and string theory), respectively. Thus, the introduction of the SE aspect of consciousness in physics leads us to unify consciousness with known four fundamental forces, which entails towards a theory of everything.


Theory of everything must include consciousness. In Part I of this series of 3 articles, the subjective experience (SE) aspect of consciousness was introduced in classical physics by examining the invariance of various components of theories under PE-SE transformations, where PEs (proto-experiences) are precursors of SEs. We found that (i) classical physics is invariant under the PE-SE transformation, (ii) potential SEs are embedded in space-time geometry for the structure of space-time in superposed form, (iii) potential SEs can move with spatiotemporal coordinates of matter for matter field because both mental and material aspects are always together in the dual-aspect-dual-mode optimal PE-SE framework, and (iv) our specific SE is the result of matching and selection processes and can change with space and time. For example, experiencing redness has neural correlates of V4/V8/VO-red-green neural-net with redness state. When a subject moves, the specific SE redness also moves with the subject's correlated neural-net. In the current Part II, the SE aspect of consciousness is introduced in orthodox quantum physics by examining its invariance under the PE-SE transformations. We found that the followings are invariant under the PE-SE transformations: Schrödinger equation, current, Dirac Lagrangian, the Lagrangian for a charged self-interacting scalar field, and Standard Model (the Lagrangian for free gauge field and Lagrangian for the electromagnetic interaction of a charged scalar field). In Part III the SE aspect of consciousness will be introduced to unify it with fundamental forces in loop quantum gravity and string theory of modern quantum physics. All parts together lead us towards the theory of everything.


Bokkon I.,Vision Research Institute | Vimal R.L.P.,Vision Research Institute
Activitas Nervosa Superior | Year: 2013

The rich concentration of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (CO) blobs in the V1 (striate) primate visual cortex has never been explained. Although the distribution of CO blobs provided a persuasive example of columnar structure in the V1, there are contradictions about the existence of hypercolumns. Since photoreceptors and other retinal cells process and convey basically external visible photonic signals, it suggests that one of the most important tasks of early visual areas is to represent these external visible color photonic signals during visual perception. This representation may occur essentially in CO-rich blobs of the V1. Here we suggest that the representation of external visible photon signals (i.e. visual representation) can be the most energetic allocation process in the brain, which is reasonably performed by the highest density neuronal V1 areas and mitochondrial-rich cytochrome oxidases. It is also raised that the functional unit for phosphene induction can be linked to small clusters of CO -rich blobs in V1. We present some implications about distinction between the physics of visible photons/light and its subjective experiences. We also discuss that amodal and modal visual completions are possible due to the visual perception induced visualization when the brain tries to interpret the unseen parts of objects or represent features of perceived objects that are not actually visible. It is raised that continuously produced intrinsic bioluminescent photons from retinal lipid peroxidation may have functional role in initial development of retinogeniculate pathways as well as initial appearance topographic organizations of V1 before birth. Finally, the metaphysical framework is the extended version of dual-aspect monism (DAMv) that has the least number of problems compared to all other frameworks and hence it is better than the materialism that is currently dominant in science.

Loading Vision Research Institute collaborators
Loading Vision Research Institute collaborators