The Claustrum

1st Edition

Structural, Functional, and Clinical Neuroscience

Print ISBN: 9780124045668
eBook ISBN: 9780124047228
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 3rd January 2014
Page Count: 408
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The present day is witnessing an explosion of our understanding of how the brain works at all levels, in which complexity is piled on complexity, and mechanisms of astonishing elegance are being continually discovered. This process is most developed in the major areas of the brain, such as the cortex, thalamus, and striatum. The Claustrum instead focuses on a small, remote, and, until recently, relatively unknown area of the brain. In recent years, researchers have come to believe that the claustrum is concerned with consciousness, a bold hypothesis supported by the claustrum’s two-way connections with nearly every other region of the brain and its seeming involvement with multisensory integrations—the hallmark of consciousness. The claustrum, previously in a humble position at the back of the stage, might in fact be the conductor of the brain’s orchestra.

The Claustrum brings together leading experts on the claustrum from the varied disciplines of neuroscience, providing a state-of-the-art presentation of what is currently known about the claustrum, promising lines of current research (including epigenetics), and projections of new lines of investigation on the horizon.

Key Features

  • Develops a unifying hypothesis about the claustrum’s role in consciousness, as well as the integration of sensory information and other higher brain functions. 
  • Discusses the involvement of the claustrum with autism, schizophrenia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Coverage of all aspects of the claustrum, from its evolution and development to promising new lines of research, including epigenetics, provides a platform and point of reference for future investigative efforts


Researchers and advanced students in neuroscience, neurology, neuropsychiatry, and neuropsychology

Table of Contents

List of Contributors



Lawrence (‘Larry’) Edelstein

Vilayanur (‘Rama’) Ramachandran

John Smythies

Chapter 1. History of the Study and Nomenclature of the Claustrum

The First Era: 1780–1820

The Second Era: 1820–1870

The Third Era: 1870–1950

The Fourth Era: 1950–2000

The Fifth Era: 2000–INTO the Future



Chapter 2. The Structure and Connections of the Claustrum


Structure of the Claustrum

Distribution of Neurochemicals

Afferent Connections of the Claustrum

Efferent Connections of the Claustrum

Projections of the Ventral Claustrum (Endopiriform Nucleus)

Discussion and Conclusions


Chapter 3. The Neurochemical Organization of the Claustrum


The Claustrum: Basic Organization

Multiple Cortical Maps and the Organization of the Claustrum

What Does the Claustrum Contribute to Information Processing in the Cerebral Cortex? Studies of the Visual Claustrum

Neurochemistry of the Claustrum

Implications of Multiple Neurochemically Defined Cell Types for Intraclaustral Processing


Summary: Neurochemistry and the Functions of the Claustrum


Chapter 4. Development and Evolution of the Claustrum


Research Antecedents

The Apparent Lack of a Claustrum in Monotremes

The Advent of Molecular Markers

Recent Genoarchitectonic Analysis of Claustrum Development and its Radial Topology Supports a Relationship with the Insula

Discussion of these Results

A Glance at the Emerging Evolutionary Scenario


Chapter 5. Physiology of the Claustrum





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© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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"Researchers…share their results regarding a part of the brain that received little attention until recently but is now thought to be connected to consciousness. Among the topics are: the history of the study and nomenclature of the claustrum; neurocomputation and coding in the claustrum in comparison with the pulvinar…", April 2014