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Brain Cogn. 2014 Jun;87:7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Asleep but aware?

Author information

1
Laboratoire d'Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs, Université Lumière, Lyon 2, 5 Avenue Pierre Mendes France, Bron F-69676, France. Electronic address: Stephanie.mazza@univ-lyon2.fr.
2
INSERM, U1028, CNRS, UMR 5292, Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon, Laboratoire «intégration centrale de la douleur», 59 bd Pinel, Bron Cedex F-69677, France; Université Claude Bernard, 43 Boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, Lyon 1 F-69003, France.
3
Laboratoire d'Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs, Université Lumière, Lyon 2, 5 Avenue Pierre Mendes France, Bron F-69676, France.
4
INSERM, U1028, CNRS, UMR 5292, Centre de Recherche en Neurosciences de Lyon, Laboratoire «intégration centrale de la douleur», 59 bd Pinel, Bron Cedex F-69677, France; Université Claude Bernard, 43 Boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, Lyon 1 F-69003, France; Hospices Civils de Lyon, Unité d'Hypnologie, Hôpital Neurologique, 59 Bd Pinel, Bron F-69677, France.

Abstract

Despite sleep-induced drastic decrease of self-awareness, human sleep allows some cognitive processing of external stimuli. Here we report the fortuitous observation in a patient who, while being recorded with intra-cerebral electrodes, was able, during paradoxical sleep, to reproduce a motor behaviour previously performed at wake to consciously indicate her perception of nociceptive stimulation. Noxious stimuli induced behavioural responses only if they reached the cortex during periods when mid-frontal networks (pre-SMA, pre-motor cortex) were pre-activated. Sensory responses in the opercular cortex and insula were identical whether the noxious stimulus was to evoke or not a motor behaviour; conversely, the responses in mid-anterior cingulate were specifically enhanced for stimuli yielding motor responses. Neuronal networks implicated in the voluntary preparation of movements may be reactivated during paradoxical sleep, but only if behavioural-relevant stimuli reach the cortex during specific periods of "motor awareness". These local activation appeared without any global sleep stage change. This observation opens the way to further studies on the currently unknown capacity of the sleeping brain to interact meaningfully with its environment.

KEYWORDS:

Consciousness; Intracerebral EEG; Nociception; Paradoxical sleep; Perception

PMID:
24632088
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandc.2014.02.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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