Brain Stimulation and "Awakenings"
Copyright 2007 © James Michael Howard,
It is my hypothesis that all tissues rely on DHEA for optimal function, especially the brain. Direct effects of DHEA on the brain are numerous and the natural decline of DHEA of old age directly parallels the loss of brain function.
The recent report of brain stimulation and "awakenings" involved stimulation of the thalamus. I suggest stimulation of the thalamus that produced an improvement in brain function is due to stimulation of DHEA. The thalamus is a center high in prolactin-releasing peptide, which has been shown to stimulate "awakenings" (Neuroscience 2002; 114: 229-38). Prolactin has been shown to specifically stimulate DHEA production. It has also been reported that DHEAS, the precursor of DHEA, "improves cognitive and behavioral deficits after mild traumatic brain injury" (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2007 July 30; Milman, et al., epub ahead of print).
I suggest that the vegetative state may result from phenomena that cause reductions in DHEA.