Well, we have discussed this for a long time, Paula and I. The brain [and the mind], seems to be more malleable than we realize. At least in the remitting and relapsing syndrome we recognize superficially as bipolar illness or manic depressive insanity [the name Kraepelin gave it].
Dr. Emile Kraepelin’s 1926 research findings of increased physiologic arousal [blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, hormonal responses, etc..classic fight or flight stuff], yet diminished motor activity, respiratory depression, reduced body temperature, systemic vasoconstriction, signs of ill health, lack of appetite, malaise, signs of dehydration, possible oliguria, etc..in thousands of depressed patients…..so many bodily systems involved in addition to changes to consciousness and mood.
Paula had these same physical signs. All non specific. All major clues.
One hypothesis is that the brain and the mind can function under conditions of motor or nervous system injury affecting the exchange of air in the blood, but is at risk of impairment of function when overwhelmed when the respiratory motor system can no longer compensate due to illness and/or poor local environmental conditions. And, it seems that once environmental or internal conditions affecting the chemistry of the blood improve, the brain and the mind return to normal function.
And that is a pretty cool hypothesis! A hypothesis that Kraepelin [and we] think should be studied further. There are many conditions we already know of that reversibly [if treated] rob adults of their minds. If not treated, dementia [seemingly permanent loss of mind for self] will persist and eventually result in death.
Let us start with what we already know about the minimal organic and inorganic molecules needed for mind and memory for self.