About this Research Topic
Consciousness as understood by anesthesiologists, neurologists and other medical practitioners seem to originate from the transmission of sensory inputs from the arousal centers to the cerebral cortex. This state can be manipulated by medications (anesthetics, analgesics, trauma, vascular compromise, etc.). However, deeper states of consciousness are experienced by meditators from different contemplative practices. Raising the human consciousness also seems to improve the cognitive states and creativity. Compassion seems to be the natural inclusive state of a being at heightened states of consciousness. In the current state of the world with lock downs due to COVID-19 pandemic, one would expect everyone to rally around and protect each other. However, socio-economic inequality, fear, depression, racism, and other unfortunate inhumane tendencies seem to rise. It is time to examine consciousness, cognition and compassion in detail from the scientific and contemplative tradition aspects.
In this Research Topic, we would like to explore the current understanding of consciousness, cognitive decline with aging, and compassion, namely to expand on the understanding of consciousness definitions in the contemplative traditions; explore whether this theory can be tested with the current tools such as EEG and functional neuroimaging (fMRI); differentiate certain aspects such as electrical silence induced by medications used to provide anesthesia vs. the states used to provide brain protection; compare them with the electrical states obtained by meditators.
We would also like to explore the current status of mild cognitive decline with aging and following surgery, including examine the potential role of reversal of these states with prehabilitation techniques such as cognitive training, yoga, and meditation.
Furthermore, we would like to explore how to be and live during lock down states resulting from pandemics such as COVID-19 when there are uncertainties abound due to lack of knowledge, vaccines, resources and treatment in a dynamic environment. Moreover, we would like to explore if contemplative traditions like yoga and meditation can offer mental and immune resilience to face infections such as COVID-19.
Finally, we would like to explore what practical steps can be taken to enhance compassion in the public globally to look out and protect each other, especially the vulnerable population.
We welcome submissions addressing these points:
• Consciousness definitions: Current understanding from multiple disciplines, such as medicine and contemplative sciences; exploration of these states with EEG, fMRI
• Cognitive decline with aging and surgery: Assessment, biomarker discovery, treatment and prevention
• COVID-19 and its impact on mental health, cognition and compassion: Utility of contemplative medicine to protect individuals and prevent them from experiencing anxiety, depression and suicidal ideations.
Keywords: EEG, burst supression, fMRI, meditation, yoga, cognitive decline, surgery, aging, compassion
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.