Empirical work is reviewed which correlates the presence or absence of various parts of the auditory evoked potential with the disappearance and reemergence of auditory sensation during induction of and recovery from anesthesia. As a result, the hypothesis is generated that the electrophysiological correlate of auditory sensation is whatever neural activity generates the middle latency waves of the auditory evoked potential. This activity occurs from 20 to 80 ms poststimulus in the primary and secondary areas of the auditory cortex. Evidence (...) is presented suggesting that earlier or later waves in the auditory evoked potential do not covary with auditory sensation (as opposed to auditory perception) and it is therefore suggested that they are possibly not the electrophysiological correlates of sensation. (shrink)
Pain, suffering and positive emotions in patients in vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) and minimally conscious states (MCS) pose clinical and ethical challenges. Clinically, we evaluate behavioural responses after painful stimulation and also emotionally-contingent behaviours (e.g., smiling). Using stimuli with emotional valence, neuroimaging and electrophysiology technologies can detect subclinical remnants of preserved capacities for pain which might influence decisions about treatment limitation. To date, no data exist as to how healthcare providers think about end-of-life options (e.g., withdrawal of artificial nutrition (...) and hydration) in the presence or absence of pain in non-communicative patients. Here, we aimed to better clarify this issue by re-analyzing previously published data on pain perception (Prog Brain Res 2009 177, 329–38) and end-of-life decisions (J Neurol 2010 258, 1058–65) in patients with disorders of consciousness. In a sample of 2259 European healthcare professionals we found that, for VS/UWS more respondents agreed with treatment withdrawal when they considered that VS/UWS patients did not feel pain (77%) as compared to those who thought VS/UWS did feel pain (59%). This interaction was influenced by religiosity and professional background. For MCS, end-of-life attitudes were not influenced by opinions on pain perception. Within a contemporary ethical context we discuss (1) the evolving scientific understandings of pain perception and their relationship to existing clinical and ethical guidelines; (2) the discrepancies of attitudes within (and between) healthcare providers and their consequences for treatment approaches, and (3) the implicit but complex relationship between pain perception and attitudes toward life-sustaining treatments. (shrink)
fMRI is a tool to study brain function noninvasively that can reliably identify sites of neural involvement for a given task. However, to what extent can fMRI signals be related to measures obtained in electrophysiology? Can the blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal be interpreted as spatially pooled spiking activity? Here we combine knowledge from neurovascular coupling, functional imaging and neurophysiology to discuss whether fMRI has succeeded in demonstrating one of the most established functional properties in the visual brain, namely directional selectivity in the (...) motion-processing region V5/ MT+. We also discuss differences of fMRI and electrophysiology in their sensitivity to distinct physiological processes. We conclude that fMRI constitutes a complement, not a poor-resolution substitute, to invasive techniques, and that it deserves interpretations that acknowledge its stand as a separate signal. (shrink)
Two meta-analyses of pharmacological research are presented, demonstrating that psychoactive drugs have consistent effects on EEG and sleep outside of their effects on REM sleep, and demonstrating that drugs other than those affecting sleep neurotransmitter systems and REM sleep can also alter reported nightmare occurrence. These data suggest that the neurobiology data terrain outside activation-synthesis may include sleep and dream electrophysiology, cognitive reports of dreaming, effects of alterations in consciousness on dreaming, immunology and host defense, and clinical therapies for sleep (...) disorders. (shrink)
In the history of science, the alterations of laboratorial working conditions during a defined period of time and the processes leading to substitution of one instrument by another are not well reconstructed. With respect to electrophysiology between 1845 and 1910, the present article attempts to call attention to the relationship between the use of instruments in a laboratory, the change in these instruments and the change of local environments in which the laboratory was situated.
Creating focal lesions in primary visual cortex (V1) provides an opportunity to study the role of extra-geniculo-striate pathways for activating extrastriate visual cortex. Previous studies have shown that more than 95% of neurons in macaque area V2 and V3 stop firing after reversibly cooling V1 [1,2,3]. However, no studies on long term recovery in areas V2, V3 following permanent V1 lesions have been reported in the macaque. Here we use macaque fMRI to study area V2, V3 activity patterns from 1 (...) to 22 months after lesioning area V1. We find that visually driven BOLD responses persist inside the V1-lesion projection zones (LPZ) of areas V2 and V3, but are reduced in strength by ,70%, on average, compared to prelesion levels. Monitoring the LPZ activity over time starting one month following the V1 lesion did not reveal systematic changes in BOLD signal amplitude. Surprisingly, the retinotopic organization inside the LPZ of areas V2, V3 remained similar to that of the non-lesioned hemisphere, suggesting that LPZ activation in V2, V3 is not the result of input arising from nearby (non-lesioned) V1 cortex. Electrophysiology recordings of multi-unit activity corroborated the BOLD observations: visually driven multi-unit responses could be elicited inside the V2 LPZ, even when the visual stimulus was entirely contained within the scotoma induced by the V1 lesion. Restricting the stimulus to the intact visual hemi-field produced no significant BOLD modulation inside the V2, V3 LPZs. We conclude that the observed activity patterns are largely mediated by parallel, V1-bypassing, subcortical pathways that can activate areas V2 and V3 in the absence of V1 input. Such pathways may contribute to the behavioral phenomenon of blindsight. (shrink)
Although the history of nerve and muscle electrophysiology is often truncated and presented as if it started with Galvani's Commentarius (1791) late in the 18th century, a strong (but narrower) case for animal electricity had been made a few decades earlier with three types of fishes: "torpedo" rays, electric catfishes, and the electric "eel." (For a history of electric fishes and how their shocks ultimately were perceived as electrical, see Finger and Piccolino 2011.) More than 2,000 years before the Common (...) Era, Egyptian artisans had drawn the electric catfish of the Nile on the walls of some tombs, and later the ancient Greeks and Romans described the flat saltwater rays that could numb or torpify at a distance. .. (shrink)
Phillips & Silverstein offer an exciting synthesis of ongoing efforts to link the clinical and cognitive manifestations of schizophrenia with cellular accounts of its pathophysiology. We applaud their efforts but wonder whether the highly inclusive notion of “context” adequately captures some important details regarding schizophrenia and NMDA/glutamate function that are suggested by work on language processing and cognitive electrophysiology.