How does brain functional connectivity change from the awake to unconscious state?

February 8, 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

A new study examined how brain functional connectivity patterns change over the continuum from wakefulness to being in an anesthesia-induced state of unconsciousness. The results, which demonstrate dynamic changes associated with high and low consciousness in rats, are described in Brain Connectivity.

In the article entitled "Dynamic Connectivity Patterns in Conscious and Unconscious Brain," authors Yuncong Ma, Christina Hamilton, and Nanyin Zhang, Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA), show that whole- networks contain some relatively stable connectivity patterns that recur from the awake into the anesthetized . The researchers also identified certain specific patterns that were strongly associated with high and low consciousness states.

"What determines an individual's conscious state is one of the most vexing questions in neuroscience today," says Christopher Pawela, PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Brain Connectivity and Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin. "These researchers have shown how brain networks change as a function of anesthetic dosage. Their research provides insights on how consciousness and anesthesia levels are linked, which may lead to a better understanding of the conscious and unconscious states."

Explore further: Reduced brain connectivity in frontal cortex linked to propofol-induced loss of consciousness

More information: Yuncong Ma et al, Dynamic Connectivity Patterns in Conscious and Unconscious Brain, Brain Connectivity (2017). DOI: 10.1089/brain.2016.0464

Related Stories

Reduced brain connectivity in frontal cortex linked to propofol-induced loss of consciousness

April 14, 2016
A new study shows that loss of responsiveness induced by propofol, a commonly used anesthetic, is associated with greatly diminished brain connectivity in the frontal cortex and significant changes in resting state brain ...

Anesthesia changes neuronal choreography

November 11, 2016
Even under deep anesthesia, nerve cells remain highly active. A study conducted by researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin has shown by high-resolution cellular imaging that local neuronal networks remain ...

Epilepsy alters organization of brain networks and functional efficiency

April 29, 2015
Epilepsy, a disorder characterized by abnormal neuronal activity in certain regions of the brain, leads to organizational changes that can alter brain efficiency at the level of the whole brain. This occurs across functional ...

Study examines how brain 'reboots' itself to consciousness after anesthesia

June 18, 2014
One of the great mysteries of anesthesia is how patients can be temporarily rendered completely unresponsive during surgery and then wake up again, with all their memories and skills intact.

Abnormal brain interactions harm consciousness

May 2, 2016
Over the past few years, a great amount of scientific research has shown that even when the brain is "at rest" it still works. The brains of healthy people are organized into regions displaying similar activity, called resting-state ...

Do disruptions in brain communication have a role in autism?

March 21, 2013
A new study of patterns of brain communication in toddlers with autism shows evidence of aberrant neural communication even at this relatively early stage of brain development. The results are presented in an article in Brain ...

Recommended for you

From signal propagation to consciousness: New findings point to a potential connection

March 22, 2018
Researchers at New York University have discovered a novel mechanism through which information can be effectively transmitted across many areas in the brain—a finding that offers a potentially new way of understanding how ...

Using simplicity for complexity—new research sheds light on the perception of motion

March 22, 2018
A team of biologists has deciphered how neurons used in the perception of motion form in the brain of a fly —a finding that illustrates how complex neuronal circuits are constructed from simple developmental rules.

Being hungry shuts off perception of chronic pain

March 22, 2018
Pain can be valuable. Without it, we might let our hand linger on a hot stove, for example. But longer-lasting pain, such as the inflammatory pain that can arise after injury, can be debilitating and costly, preventing us ...

Researchers target immune cells to slow progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

March 22, 2018
New research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - also known as motor neuron disease - shows that specific immune cells may help slow progression of the disease, an important step towards developing new therapies to ...

Focus on early stage of illness may be key to treating ALS, study suggests

March 22, 2018
A new kind of genetically engineered mouse and an innovation in how to monitor those mice during research have shed new light on the early development of an inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Flow of spinal fluid disrupted in inherited developmental disorder

March 22, 2018
Scientists have pinpointed the mechanism behind hydrocephalus, an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, in an inherited developmental disorder called Noonan syndrome.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.