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Front Psychol. 2012 Aug 27;3:295. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00295. eCollection 2012.

Resting state networks and consciousness: alterations of multiple resting state network connectivity in physiological, pharmacological, and pathological consciousness States.

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Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Center & Neurology Department, University of Liège Liège, Belgium.


In order to better understand the functional contribution of resting state activity to conscious cognition, we aimed to review increases and decreases in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) functional connectivity under physiological (sleep), pharmacological (anesthesia), and pathological altered states of consciousness, such as brain death, coma, vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome, and minimally conscious state. The reviewed resting state networks were the DMN, left and right executive control, salience, sensorimotor, auditory, and visual networks. We highlight some methodological issues concerning resting state analyses in severely injured brains mainly in terms of hypothesis-driven seed-based correlation analysis and data-driven independent components analysis approaches. Finally, we attempt to contextualize our discussion within theoretical frameworks of conscious processes. We think that this "lesion" approach allows us to better determine the necessary conditions under which normal conscious cognition takes place. At the clinical level, we acknowledge the technical merits of the resting state paradigm. Indeed, fast and easy acquisitions are preferable to activation paradigms in clinical populations. Finally, we emphasize the need to validate the diagnostic and prognostic value of fMRI resting state measurements in non-communicating brain damaged patients.


anesthesia; coma; consciousness; default mode network; hypnosis; resting state networks; sleep

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