Consciousness and the Brain

Dear Alexis, Tyler, and Sarah

Receive my kind wishes for a speedy recovery, after the tragedy that faced you recently. I am informed that Alexis has been diagnosed with blindsight, Tyler is exhibiting symptoms of phantom limb syndrome, and Sarah has spatial neglect. I am sure healthcare workers are taking good care of you, but allow me to reassure you of your wellness.

Blindsight is a condition where people who have significant visual loss but can respond to external stimuli such as movement (Ajina & Bridge, 2016). Usually, visual information passes through the cortex for one to see. However, studies have shown that some visual information bypasses the cortex, and is sent to the amygdala to process emotion (QldBrainInstitute, 2019). When the cortex is damaged, say in an accident, one can have blindsight. Alexis will be visually blind but will respond to external stimuli.

Phantom limb syndrome is a sensation of a limb that does not exist. Sorry for your loss, Tyler. Your lost limb was connected to specific neurons in the brain. After the loss, associated neurons do not receive sensation anymore. The neighboring neural active regions expand into the inactive part by neural plasticity (Plethrons, 2015). When the part of the body whose neurons take over the inactive neurons is touched, say the face, one feels the on the face and the remaining part of the lost limb. That means you may continue feeling the sensations throughout your life.

To Sarah, spatial neglect, also called hemispatial neglect, is a condition where one has a deficit in attention or awareness of the environment on one side of the brain. Mostly, people with spatial neglect do not notice objects to the side of the damaged side of the brain (Bonato, Saj & Vuilleumier, 2016). Patients may not notice it because they have lost the imagination of possibilities to the damaged side of the brain (Stroke Foundation, 2013). Luckily, one may overcome the condition through practice and therapies, which give induced attention (Stroke Foundation, 2013).

The conditions are related since they affect consciousness and arise from the impairment of a part of the brain. While blindsight and phantom limb syndrome are not curable, spatial neglect is possible to overcome. Notably, the body parts receive a stimulus, and a nerve impulse is sent to the neurons in the brain, which results in physical actions, emotions, or decisions.

Your in love,



Ajina, S., & Bridge, H. (2016). Blindsight and Unconscious Vision: What They Teach Us about the Human Visual System. The Neuroscientist23(5), 529-541. doi: 10.1177/1073858416673817

Bonato, M., Saj, A., & Vuilleumier, P. (2016). Hemispatial Neglect Shows That “Before” Is “Left”. Neural Plasticity2016, 1-11. doi: 10.1155/2016/2716036

Plethrons. (2015). Phantom Limbs Explained [Film]. Plethrons.

QldBrainInstitute. (2019). Brain pathway that explains blindsight confirmed [Video]. QldBrainInstitute.

Stroke Foundation. (2013). Hemispatial Neglect Syndrome | [Video]. Stroke Foundation.