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Individual trajectories for recovery of neocortical activity in disorders of consciousness


Deco,  Gustavo
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Tewarie, P., Abeysuriya, R., Panda, R., Nunez, P., Vitello, M. M., van der Lande, G., et al. (2024). Individual trajectories for recovery of neocortical activity in disorders of consciousness. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2024.03.11.584433.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-037D-2
The evolution from disturbed brain activity to physiological brain rhythms can precede recovery in patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC). Accordingly, intriguing questions arise: What are the pathophysiological factors responsible for disrupted brain rhythms in patients with DoC, and are there potential pathways for individual patients with DoC to return to normal brain rhythms? We addressed these questions at the individual subject level using biophysical simulations based on electroencephalography (EEG). The main findings are that unconscious patients exhibit a loss of excitatory corticothalamic synaptic strength. Synaptic plasticity in this excitatory corticothalamic circuitry fosters physiological brain rhythms in the selection of patients with DoC. The extent to which this occurred was correlated with cerebral glucose uptake. The current findings emphasize the importance of excitatory thalamocortical activity in reestablishing normal brain rhythms after brain injury and show that biophysical modelling of the corticothalamic circuitry could help select patients that might be potentially receptive to treatment and undergo plasticity.