Preserved feedforward but impaired top-down processes in the vegetative state

Melanie Boly, Marta Isabel Garrido, Olivia Gosseries, Marie Aurélie Bruno, Pierre Boveroux, Caroline Schnakers, Marcello Massimini, Vladimir Litvak, Steven Laureys, Karl Friston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Frontoparietal cortex is involved in the explicit processing (awareness) of stimuli. Frontoparietal activation has also been found in studies of subliminal stimulus processing. We hypothesized that an impairment of top-down processes, involved in recurrent neuronal message-passing and the generation of long-latency electrophysiological responses, might provide a more reliable correlate of consciousness in severely brain-damaged patients, than frontoparietal responses. We measured effective connectivity during a mismatch negativity paradigm and found that the only significant difference between patients in a vegetative state and controls was an impairment of backward connectivity from frontal to temporal cortices. This result emphasizes the importance of top-down projections in recurrent processing that involve high-order associative cortices for conscious perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-862
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume332
Issue number6031
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 13 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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