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Neuroimage. 1999 Apr;9(4):377-82.

Impaired effective cortical connectivity in vegetative state: preliminary investigation using PET.

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Department of Neurology, CHU Sart Tilman, University of Liège, Liège, 4000, Belgium.


Vegetative state (VS) is a condition of abolished awareness with persistence of arousal. Awareness is part of consciousness, which itself is thought to represent an emergent property of cerebral neural networks. Our hypothesis was that part of the neural correlate underlying VS is an altered connectivity, especially between the associative cortices. We assessed regional cerebral glucose metabolism (rCMRGlu) and effective cortical connectivity in four patients in VS by means of statistical parametric mapping and [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography. Our data showed a common pattern of impaired rCMRGlu in the prefrontal, premotor, and parietotemporal association areas and posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus in VS. In a next step, we demonstrated that in VS patients various prefrontal and premotor areas have in common that they are less tightly connected with the posterior cingulate cortex than in normal controls. These results provide a strong argument for an alteration of cortical connectivity in VS patients.

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