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Conscious Cogn. 2009 Dec;18(4):1069-78. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 May 13.

The directionality and functional organization of frontoparietal connectivity during consciousness and anesthesia in humans.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Frontoparietal connectivity has been suggested to be important in conscious processing and its interruption is thought to be one mechanism of general anesthesia. Data in animals demonstrate that feedforward processing of information may persist during the anesthetized state, while feedback processing is inhibited. We investigated the directionality and functional organization of frontoparietal connectivity in 10 human subjects anesthetized with propofol on two separate occasions. Multichannel electroencephalography and a computational method of assessing directed functional connectivity were employed. We demonstrate that directed feedback connectivity is diminished with loss of consciousness and returns with responsiveness to verbal command. We also applied the Dendrogram classification method to assess the global organization of directed functional connectivity during consciousness and anesthesia. We demonstrate a state-specific hierarchy and subject-specific subhierarchy in functional organization. These data support the hypothesis that specific states of human consciousness are defined by specific states of frontoparietal connectivity.

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