Synchronization between the anterior and posterior cortex determines consciousness level in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Jose Leon-Carrion, Umberto Leon-Dominguez, Luca Pollonini, Meng Hung Wu, Richard E. Frye, Maria Rosario Dominguez-Morales, George Zouridakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) often suffer disorders of consciousness as a result of a breakdown in cortical connectivity. However, little is known about the neural discharges and cortical areas working in synchrony to generate consciousness in these patients. In this study, we analyzed cortical connectivity in patients with severe neurocognitive disorder (SND) and in the minimally conscious state (MCS). We found two synchronized networks subserving consciousness; one retrolandic (cognitive network) and the other frontal (executive control network). The synchrony between these networks is severely disrupted in patients in the MCS as compared to those with better levels of consciousness and a preserved state of alertness (SND). The executive control network could facilitate the synchronization and coherence of large populations of distant cortical neurons using high frequency oscillations on a precise temporal scale. Consciousness is altered or disappears after losing synchrony and coherence. We suggest that the synchrony between anterior and retrolandic regions is essential to awareness, and that a functioning frontal lobe is a surrogate marker for preserved consciousness. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Brain Integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Volume1476
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2012

Keywords

  • Consciousness
  • Functional cortical connectivity
  • Minimal conscious state
  • QEEG
  • Severe neurocognitive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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