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Dopamine and consciousness: College members illustrate conscious brain activity’s link to ‘pleasure chemical’

5 August 2021 Fellows

Research from University of Cambridge scientists, including Professor Barbara Sahakian, a Fellow of Clare Hall, demonstrates how the brain chemical dopamine plays a key role in consciousness.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, the study illustrates that conscious brain activity seems to be linked to the brain’s ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine, and that the use of current and future drugs, which act on dopamine, should help improve our understanding of anaesthesia. 

Professor Sahakian comments:
‘We are very excited about the findings of our study, which demonstrates a key role for the chemical in the brain dopamine in consciousness. Importantly, these results are of clinical importance both in regard to outcome and treatment for patients with disorders of consciousness.’

Learn more via a piece in The Conversation UK. This article is composed by four specialists including Professor Sahakian and Dr Christelle Langley, an Affiliated Postdoctoral Member of Clare Hall, and two scientists from the Division of Anaesthesia at the University of Cambridge.