Review: Brain dynamics in disorders of consciousness

Large-scale brain dynamics in disorders of consciousness

Nicholas D. Schiff, Tanya D. Nauvel, and Jonathan D. Victor

Current Opinion in Neurobiology 25, 7-14 (2014)


Brain injury profoundly affects global brain dynamics, and these changes are manifest in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Despite the heterogeneity of injury mechanisms and the modularity of brain function, there is a commonality of dynamical features that characterize the EEG along the gamut from coma to recovery. After severest injury, EEG activity is concentrated below 1 Hz. In minimally conscious state during wakefulness, there is a peak of activity in the 3-7 Hz range, often coherent across the brain, and often also activity in the beta (15-30 Hz) range. These spectral changes likely result from varying degrees of functional deafferentation at thalamic and cortical levels. EEG-based indices of brain dynamics that go beyond these simple spectral measures may provide further diagnostic information and physiologic insights.

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