R222, thank you. I need to look into Merker.
“What is the bare minimum? An intact brainstem is essential for all vegetative functions e.g. autonomic regulation of respiration, heart rate, blood pressure. A hypothalamus and pituitary gland are necessary for ingestive, social and sexual behaviors, homeostasis, endocrinology, salt and water balance, body temperature, and circadian rhythms. Motor ctx, basal ganglia, and thalamus are necessary for goal directed movement. The hippocampus is needed for memory. The primary sensory modalities, smell, visual, hearing and touch are needed to sense the external world. In the case of rodents and many other species, olfaction is essential. Between the behavioral testing, MRI, and post mortem histology, it was possible to observe many of these functions, and confirm their location and organization in R222. The transformation of cortical mantle was the most dramatic change in R222 as compared to age matched controls, particularly the visual and auditory cortices. How did R222 see and hear?
In a review on the functional organization of the vertebrate brain, Merker makes a compelling argument for the upper brainstem e.g., thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain DA system, superior/inferior colliculi, and pons for the integration of sensory information needed for goal directed behavior in real time.
All these areas have access to somatosensory, visual and auditory information independent of the cortex. Long before encephalization there was centralization of function in the upper brainstem for sensory integration, learning, memory, motivation, and organization and expression of complex behaviors. This centralization of life functions in subcortical areas would include the olfactory bulbs and cerebellum as noted above. R222 lived a long “normal” life by defaulting to brain organization that has sustained and propagated vertebrate life since inception.”