Category Archives: Neurosciences

42: the answer to life, the universe and everything (i.e., consciousness)

by Piter Kehoma Boll

ResearchBlogging.orgIn his work  “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Douglas Adams defined that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.

Now a group of scientists measured glucose metabolism in brains in a resting state from coma patients in order to determine the mean metabolic activity and used this value to predict whether a patient in a comatose state would eventually regain consciousness.


A brain image taken with positron emission tomography (PET) after injecting [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a radioactive form of glucose. This is the same method used in the study to quantify metabolic activity. Photo by Jens Maus.

The results indicate that the brain needs a minimum of 42% of normal metabolic activity in one of the hemispheres (the less injured one) in order to garantee consciousness recovery. And what is life, the universe and everything if not a consequence of our consciousness?


Deep Thought. Image extracted from

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Stender, J., Mortensen, K., Thibaut, A., Darkner, S., Laureys, S., Gjedde, A., & Kupers, R. (2016). The Minimal Energetic Requirement of Sustained Awareness after Brain Injury Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.024


Filed under Molecular Biology, Neurosciences