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Consciousness Integration and Complexity

Nathan Faivre, Julien Dubois, Naama Schwartz, Liad Mudrik
Integrating objects with their context is a key step in interpreting complex visual scenes. Here, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while participants viewed visual scenes depicting a person performing an action with an object that was either congruent or incongruent with the scene. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed different activity for congruent vs. incongruent scenes in the lateral occipital complex, inferior temporal cortex, parahippocampal cortex, and prefrontal cortex. Importantly, and in contrast to previous studies, these activations could not be explained by task-induced conflict...
March 14, 2019: Scientific Reports
Alberto Cacciola, Antonino Naro, Demetrio Milardi, Alessia Bramanti, Leonardo Malatacca, Maurizio Spitaleri, Antonino Leo, Alessandro Muscoloni, Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Placido Bramanti, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò, Giuseppe Pio Anastasi
Consciousness arises from the functional interaction of multiple brain structures and their ability to integrate different complex patterns of internal communication. Although several studies demonstrated that the fronto-parietal and functional default mode networks play a key role in conscious processes, it is still not clear which topological network measures (that quantifies different features of whole-brain functional network organization) are altered in patients with disorders of consciousness. Herein, we investigate the functional connectivity of unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) patients from a topological network perspective, by using resting-state EEG recording...
March 5, 2019: Journal of Clinical Medicine
Kim Allison, Jenny Setchell, Thorlene Egerton, Clare Delaney, Kim L Bennell
Background: Physical therapists are at the frontline of treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA). International guidelines recommend weight-loss for individuals with knee OA who are overweight and research indicates that patients believe it is appropriate for physical therapists to address weight. Objectives: The objective was to explore physical therapists' attitudes to their role in weight management for people with OA. Design: This was a qualitative semi-structured telephone interview study...
January 31, 2019: Physical Therapy
Federico E Turkheimer, Peter Hellyer, Angie A Kehagia, Paul Expert, Louis-David Lord, Jakub Vohryzek, Jessica De Faria Dafflon, Mick Brammer, Robert Leech
The concept of "emergence" has become commonplace in the modelling of complex systems, both natural and man-made; a functional property" emerges" from a system when it cannot be readily explained by the properties of the system's sub-units. A bewildering array of adaptive and sophisticated behaviours can be observed from large ensembles of elementary agents such as ant colonies, bird flocks or by the interactions of elementary material units such as molecules or weather elements. Ultimately, emergence has been adopted as the ontological support of a number of attempts to model brain function...
January 23, 2019: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
David S Goldstein
Homeostasis is a founding principle of integrative physiology. In current systems biology, however, homeostasis seems almost invisible. Is homeostasis a key goal driving body processes, or is it an emergent mechanistic fact? In this perspective piece I propose that the integrative physiologic and systems biologic viewpoints about homeostasis reflect different epistemologies-different philosophies of knowledge. Integrative physiology is concept-driven. It attempts to explain biological phenomena by continuous formation of theories that experimentation or observation can test...
January 16, 2019: American Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
I Pappas, R M Adapa, D K Menon, E A Stamatakis
The precise mechanism of anaesthetic action on a neural level remains unclear. Recent approaches suggest that anaesthetics attenuate the complexity of interactions (connectivity) however evidence remains insufficient. We used tools from network and information theory to show that, during propofol-induced sedation, a collection of brain regions displayed decreased complexity in their connectivity patterns, especially so if they were sparsely connected. Strikingly, we found that, despite their low connectivity strengths, these regions exhibited an inordinate role in network integration...
November 1, 2018: NeuroImage
Felix Tretter
Psychiatric illnesses like dementia are increasingly relevant for public health affairs. Neurobiology promises progress in diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses and exhibits a rapid increase of knowledge by new neurotechnologies. In order to find generic patterns in huge neurobiological data sets and by exploring formal brain models, non-linear science offers many examples of fruitful insights into the complex dynamics of neuronal information processing. However, it should be minded that neurobiology neither can bridge the explanatory gap between brain and mind nor can substitute psychological and psychiatric categories and knowledge...
October 2018: Chaos
Caterina Feltrin, Jennifer M Newton, Georgina Willetts
AIM: To increase understanding of strategies graduate nurses use on a day-to-day basis to integrate themselves into pre-existing social frameworks. BACKGROUND: Being a graduate nurse and transitioning from a novice to beginner in the first year of clinical practice is stressful, challenging and overwhelming due to steep learning curves and adjusting to working in professional environments. How graduate nurses socially adapt and fit into ward cultures is a hurdle to successful transition and can be difficult...
March 2019: Journal of Advanced Nursing
Natascha G Alves, Andrea N Trujillo, Jerome W Breslin, Sarah Y Yuan
Excessive microvascular permeability is a serious complication following hemorrhagic shock and resuscitation (HSR). S1P has been shown to ameliorate microvascular leakage in a model of combined alcohol intoxication and hemorrhagic shock and resuscitation (HSR). In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that S1P reduces HSR-induced microvascular leakage by preserving endothelial cell junctional structure and the endothelial glycocalyx through protection of mitochondrial function. We used an established in vivo rat model of conscious HSR and assessed microvascular leakage, endothelial glycocalyx integrity, and mitochondrial function by intravital microscopy...
October 18, 2018: Shock
Colin P Doherty, Eoin O'Keeffe, James Keaney, Brian Lawlor, Robert F Coen, Michael Farrell, Matthew Campbell
A history of brain trauma has long been acknowledged as increasing an individual's risk of developing dementia in later life. The underlying mechanisms that belie this pre-disposition are, however, very poorly understood. Here, we report a clinical-neuropathological correlation of a man who presented at the age of 66 with a progressive complex atypical dementia with early and prominent neurobehavioral symptoms. His neurological condition continued to decline up to his death at the age of 74. During the compilation of his clinical history, it was established that the subject had experienced a single severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) aged 12 years in 1954 resulting in loss of consciousness, hospitalization, and coma for a number of days after which he was deemed to have recovered...
January 2019: Clinical Neuropathology
Moshe Zaguri, Yaara Zohar, Dror Hawlena
Animals adjust behaviors to balance changes in predation risk against other vital needs. Animals must therefore collect sensory information and use a complex risk-assessment process that estimates risks and weighs costs and benefits entailed in different reactions. Studying this cognitive process is challenging, especially in nature, because it requires inferring sensory abilities and conscious decisions from behavioral reactions. Our goal was to address this empirical challenge by implementing psychophysical principles to field research that explores considerations used by desert isopods (Hemilepistus reaumuri) to assess the risk of scorpions that hunt exclusively from within their burrows...
November 2018: American Naturalist
David Engel, Thomas W Malone
Researchers in many disciplines have previously used a variety of mathematical techniques for analyzing group interactions. Here we use a new metric for this purpose, called "integrated information" or "phi." Phi was originally developed by neuroscientists as a measure of consciousness in brains, but it captures, in a single mathematical quantity, two properties that are important in many other kinds of groups as well: differentiated information and integration. Here we apply this metric to the activity of three types of groups that involve people and computers...
2018: PloS One
V Peviani, F G Magnani, A Ciricugno, T Vecchi, G Bottini
The sense of body ownership is a fundamental feature that refers to the ability to recognize our body as our own, allowing us to interact properly with the outside world. Usually, it is explored by means of the Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) during which a dummy hand is incorporated in the mental representation of one's own body throughout a multisensory (visuo-tactile) integration mechanism. Particular attention has been paid to the neurofunctional counterparts of this mechanism highlighting the pivotal role of an occipito-parieto-frontal network involving the Ventral Premotor area (PMv)...
November 2018: Neuropsychologia
Nadezhda Barvitenko, Alfons Lawen, Muhammad Aslam, Antonella Pantaleo, Carlota Saldanha, Elisaveta Skverchinskaya, Marco Regolini, Jack A Tuszynski
BACKGROUND: Myriads of signaling pathways in a single cell function to achieve the highest spatio-temporal integration. Data are accumulating on the role of electromechanical soliton-like waves in signal transduction processes. Theoretical studies strongly suggest feasibility of both classical and quantum computing involving microtubules. AIM: A theoretical study of the role of the complex composed of the plasma membrane and the microtubule-based cytoskeleton as a system that transmits, stores and processes information...
August 22, 2018: Bio Systems
Tomer Fekete, David B Omer, Kazunori O'Hashi, Amiram Grinvald, Cees van Leeuwen, Oren Shriki
Critical dynamics are thought to play an important role in neuronal information-processing: near critical networks exhibit neuronal avalanches, cascades of spatiotemporal activity that are scale-free, and are considered to enhance information capacity and transfer. However, the exact relationship between criticality, awareness, and information integration remains unclear. To characterize this relationship, we applied multi-scale avalanche analysis to voltage-sensitive dye imaging data collected from animals of various species under different anesthetics...
August 16, 2018: NeuroImage
Stephen LaBerge, Kristen LaMarca, Benjamin Baird
Lucid dreaming is a remarkable state of consciousness in which one is aware of the fact that one is dreaming while continuing to dream. Based on the strong relationship between physiological activation during rapid eye-movement sleep and lucid dreaming, our pilot research investigated whether enhancing cortical activation via acetylcholinesterease inhibition (AChEI) would increase the frequency of lucid dreams and found AChEI to be a promising method for lucid dream induction. In the current study we sought to quantify the size and reliability of the effect of AChEI on lucid dreaming, dream recall and dream content as well as to test the effectiveness of an integrated lucid dream induction protocol which combined cholinergic stimulation with other methods for lucid dream induction...
2018: PloS One
A Alpár, T Harkany
The mammalian hypothalamus contains an astounding heterogeneity of neurons to achieve its role in coordinating central responses to virtually any environmental stressor over the life-span of an individual. Therefore, while core features of intrahypothalamic neuronal modalities and wiring patterns are stable during vertebrate evolution, integration of the hypothalamus into hierarchical brain-wide networks evolved to coordinate its output with emotionality, cognition and conscious decision-making. The advent of single-cell technologies represents a recent milestone in the study of hypothalamic organization by allowing the dissection of cellular heterogeneity and establishing causality between opto- and chemogenetic activity modulation of molecularly-resolved neuronal contingents and specific behaviours...
July 20, 2018: Journal of Internal Medicine
Amelie Haugg, Rhodri Cusack, Laura E Gonzalez-Lara, Bettina Sorger, Adrian M Owen, Lorina Naci
It is well established that some patients, who are deemed to have disorders of consciousness, remain entirely behaviorally non-responsive and are diagnosed as being in a vegetative state, yet can nevertheless demonstrate covert awareness of their external environment by modulating their brain activity, a phenomenon known as cognitive-motor dissociation. However, the extent to which these patients retain internal awareness remains unknown. To investigate the potential for internal and external awareness in patients with chronic disorders of consciousness (DoC), we asked whether the pattern of juxtaposition between the functional time-courses of the default mode (DMN) and fronto-parietal networks, shown in healthy individuals to mediate the naturally occurring dominance switching between internal and external aspects of consciousness, was present in these patients...
2018: Frontiers in Neurology
Xerxes D Arsiwalla, Paul Verschure
The grand quest for a scientific understanding of consciousness has given rise to many new theoretical and empirical paradigms for investigating the phenomenology of consciousness as well as clinical disorders associated to it. A major challenge in this field is to formalize computational measures that can reliably quantify global brain states from data. In particular, information-theoretic complexity measures such as integrated information have been proposed as measures of conscious awareness. This suggests a new framework to quantitatively classify states of consciousness...
2018: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Marco Solcà, Roberta Ronchi, Javier Bello-Ruiz, Thomas Schmidlin, Bruno Herbelin, François Luthi, Michel Konzelmann, Jean-Yves Beaulieu, François Delaquaize, Armin Schnider, Adrian G Guggisberg, Andrea Serino, Olaf Blanke
OBJECTIVES: To develop and test a new immersive digital technology for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) that combines principles from mirror therapy and immersive virtual reality and the latest research from multisensory body processing. METHODS: In this crossover double-blind study, 24 patients with CRPS and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were immersed in a virtual environment and shown a virtual depiction of their affected limb that was flashing in synchrony (or in asynchrony in the control condition) with their own online detected heartbeat (heartbeat-enhanced virtual reality [HEVR])...
July 31, 2018: Neurology
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